Ben Kadel

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Ben Kadel
Posted over 1 year ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
It's interesting to me that Torbjorn doesn't address the actual content of the talk so much as focus on character assassinations of Sheldrake (questioning his credentials, using other people's character judgements, etc.) and yet claims that Sheldrake is engaging in character assassination of science. What makes this even more bizarre is that "science" as a process has no character to be assassinated. The only way one could assassinate the character of science is if it was thought of as an entity, as Science with a capital S, which is exactly the point that Sheldrake is making. Torbjorn's defensive reaction proves Sheldrake's point.
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Ben Kadel
Posted over 1 year ago
Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues
I am a trained research scientist and have to say that I think he is spot on in the basic assessment. He makes a clear distinction between the scientific method (which he promotes) and a belief system that I call scientism and he calls the science delusion (which limits the effectiveness of the scientific method). He is calling out a very dangerous tendency in current discussions. While we may rightly question some of his hypotheses, that in no way makes his argument "unscientific." In fact, it is the very essence of science. The nature of science is to propose new theories and explanations that do a better job of explaining the gap between existing theories and data. These educated guesses then serve as the basis for experiments that can test previously accepted assumptions and/or provide a more refined context in which the theory applies. Relativity doesn't invalidate Newtonian physics, it merely contains it to the realm of relatively large scales. Punctuated equilibrium doesn't disprove evolution, it just refines our understanding on its mechanisms. To tell you the truth, the thing that I find most shocking is not the presentation - which would make sense in most "scientific method 101" courses - but the reaction by some that it is pseudo-science. I would say the reaction itself proves his point more convincingly than his actual presentation. As to the "factual error" around government funding, it is such a minor and inconsequential point that it's hardly worth mentioning. At worst, he could be criticized for poorly chosen phrasing, but not for the essential correctness of the idea. In short, I have seen far less scientific presentations with greater factual inaccuracy than this live long and popular lives on TED . The desire by some to censor this talk is the best argument I can think of for keeping it and actually promoting it more broadly