Animal minds Information Intelligent Design News

Rupert Sheldrake likes Dembski’s Being as Communion

Spread the love

Being as Communion Sheldrake, animal behaviorist and author of The Science Delusion says this about Being as Communion:

This is a clear, fresh, stimulating, and provocative book. I enjoyed reading it, and recommend it to anyone who would like to think more deeply about information, evolution and creativity.

See also: Rupert Sheldrake: An early non-Darwinian biologistlooks back on it all Once “one of the brightest Darwinians of his generation,” he doubted and was cast out.

Indeed, Richard Dawkins, guardian of Darwinian correctness, made a point of hounding Sheldrake, and at one point had to be shown out of his lab.

Also: U Chicago Darwinist Jerry Coyne goes after animal behaviorist Rupert Sheldrake

Follow UD News at Twitter!

26 Replies to “Rupert Sheldrake likes Dembski’s Being as Communion

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – video
    https://vimeo.com/33479544

    Rupert Sheldrake has a internet site he has set up especially for skeptics so they could do the experiments online for themselves:

    Here is the online test site:

    Online Tests
    Rupert Sheldrake invites you to participate in his ongoing research. No previous experience is necessary, and the online tests can be done immediately. Most of these experiments are suitable for use in schools and colleges, and some make an excellent basis for student projects.
    http://www.sheldrake.org/participate

    This was an interesting video that was done in response to Sheldrake’s work:

    Jaytee: A dog who knew when his owner was coming home – video
    https://vimeo.com/81150973

    as well:

    Telephone telepathy with the Nolan Sisters – video
    http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22013

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    I assume that we all know Sheldrake the mocked. He is the spook who believes in the paranormal. He’s well known as an idiot.

    I bought and read Sheldrake’s book, “The Science Delusion”. I found that I was reading the product of a true scientist. His presentations were well supported with scientific study. He has his own theory, which I don’t buy into. But he presents a lot of evidence that nature is much more wondrous than the little mind of science can grasp — all because of that pathological commitment to naturalism.

    Sheldrake goes to great lengths to separate himself from theism. He goes to great lengths to come up with a non-theistic, naturalistic or pseudo-naturalistic, explanation for his findings. Despite this separation he has been thrown on the trash-heap of the wacko.

    I think Sheldrake merits a whole lot more credit than he gets.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    bfast well written, those are my thoughts exactly on Sheldrake. His science is certainly above board. Its the implications that get him hammered by the atheists.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Problem 8: Differences Between Vertebrate Embryos Contradict the Predictions of Common Ancestry – Casey Luskin February 13, 2015
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91171.html

  5. 5
    computerist says:

    BFast,

    Sheldrake goes to great lengths to separate himself from theism.

    I do not believe so.
    This is a much better video that outlines his views:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZklRSn92ek4

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    Computerist, At this point I have listened to over an hour of your video link. Sheldrake does seem to identify as a theistic evolutionist. He declares that he is a “practicing Anglican” just after the one hour mark. Then he goes on to make it very clear that he is not an IDer. Even after identifying as a practicing Anglican, he soft peddles the God hypothesis — using the expression “if there is a god” a lot.

    His book “The Science Delusion” does not discuss this aspect of his life. He certainly desires to present his theory of “morphic resonance” in a non-theistic context.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Here’s the latest lecture from Dr. Giem from his series on the book Biological Information

    Biological Information – Positive Genetic Entropy 2-7-2015 by Paul Giem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W17lVqYQzq4&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUUhiC9VwPnhl-ymuObyTWJ&index=15

  8. 8
    Graham2 says:

    I suffered through most of Sheldrakes talk. Hes a nut. He gibbered on about how the constants may vary, but he didn’t present evidence. What is it with creationists ? They just don’t understand what evidence is. They just don’t get it. All he could say was that published values of the constants have varied over the years (duh), and well, oh gee, maybe the constants aren’t constant, but no-one will take me seriously. That’s it. Science didn’t come up with a 20-digit precision value in the year 1, so maybe they vary. Jeeez.

  9. 9
    bFast says:

    Graham2,These two statements of yours are non-sequitur: “They just don’t understand what evidence is. They just don’t get it.” and “All he could say was that published values of the constants have varied over the years”

    If one year they publish a number with twenty digits of precision, and a few years later they publish a new number with 20 digits of precision, why do you discount this as evidence? If, as Sheldrake says, there is a regular negotiation to determine the value of the gravitational constant or the speed of light, this is consistent with Sheldrake’s theory — it is “evidence”.

    Please read the recent thread where Barry Arrington explains what evidence is: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-evidence/ Then please explain why Mr. Arrington is in error.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Graham2 as to:

    “What is it with creationists ? They just don’t understand what evidence is. They just don’t get it.”

    Well Graham2 since you understand what evidence is, and apparently creationists (although Sheldrake distances himself from that label) and ID proponents don’t understand evidence, perhaps you can help me? For years, I’ve been searching for empirical evidence that unguided material processes can create non-trivial functional information/complexity above what is already present in life, just as neo-Darwinists adamantly claim unguided material processes can do, and I have yet to find even one example of unguided material processes doing as such. For instance, four decades worth of laboratory evolution experiments are surveyed here, and no evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution surfaces:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    How about the oft cited example for neo-Darwinism of antibiotic resistance?

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    Excerpt: Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials is often claimed to be a clear demonstration of “evolution in a Petri dish.” ,,, all known examples of antibiotic resistance via mutation are inconsistent with the genetic requirements of evolution. These mutations result in the loss of pre-existing cellular systems/activities, such as porins and other transport systems, regulatory systems, enzyme activity, and protein binding.
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    That doesn’t seem to be helping! How about we look really, really, close at very sensitive growth rates and see if we can catch almighty evolution in action?

    Unexpectedly small effects of mutations in bacteria bring new perspectives – November 2010
    Excerpt: Most mutations in the genes of the Salmonella bacterium have a surprisingly small negative impact on bacterial fitness. And this is the case regardless whether they lead to changes in the bacterial proteins or not.,,, using extremely sensitive growth measurements, doctoral candidate Peter Lind showed that most mutations reduced the rate of growth of bacteria by only 0.500 percent. No mutations completely disabled the function of the proteins, and very few had no impact at all. Even more surprising was the fact that mutations that do not change the protein sequence had negative effects similar to those of mutations that led to substitution of amino acids. A possible explanation is that most mutations may have their negative effect by altering mRNA structure, not proteins, as is commonly assumed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....teria.html

    Shoot that doesn’t seem to be helping either! How about if we just try to ‘fix’ a ‘beneficial’ mutation:

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ruit_flies

    Well that certainly didn’t help. How about if just try to help evolution out a little and saturate genomes with mutations until we can actually see some ‘evolution’?

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    Well now its getting frustrating, how about if we try to force bacteria to adapt to a new environment?

    Researchers Ran a Massive Yearlong Experiment to Get Bacteria to Evolve. Guess What Happened? – August 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (the problem the researchers tried to address???)
    “the general inability to connect phenotype to genotype in the context of environmental adaptation has been a major failing in the field of evolution.,,,”
    (Their results in addressing this major failing???)
    ‘In short, it was hard to find anything beyond a “suggestion” or a “scenario” that these bacteria improved their fitness in any way by genetic mutations, other than the gross observation that some of the clones managed to survive at 45 °C. But even the ancestor could do that sometimes through the “Lazarus effect.”‘
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89231.html

    Shoot that doesn’t seem to be helping either! Perhaps we just have to give the almighty power of neo-Darwinism ‘room to breathe’? How about we ‘open the floodgates’ to the almighty power of Darwinian Evolution and look at Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment and see what we can find after 50,000 generations, which is equivalent to somewhere around 1,000,000 years of human evolution???

    “The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.”
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)

    Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment: 25 Years and Counting – Michael Behe – November 21, 2013
    Excerpt: Twenty-five years later the culture — a cumulative total of trillions of cells — has been going for an astounding 58,000 generations and counting. As the article points out, that’s equivalent to a million years in the lineage of a large animal such as humans. Combined with an ability to track down the exact identities of bacterial mutations at the DNA level, that makes Lenski’s project the best, most detailed source of information on evolutionary processes available anywhere,,,
    ,,,for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010). There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell. For example, the genes making the bacterial flagellum are consistently turned off by a beneficial mutation (apparently it saves cells energy used in constructing flagella). The suite of genes used to make the sugar ribose is the uniform target of a destructive mutation, which somehow helps the bacterium grow more quickly in the laboratory. Degrading a host of other genes leads to beneficial effects, too.,,, –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79401.html

    Now this just can’t be right!! Man we should really start to be seeing some neo-Darwinian fireworks by 50,000 generations!?! Hey I know what we can do! How about we see what happened when the ‘top five’ mutations from Lenski’s experiment were combined??? Surely now the Darwinian magic will start flowing!!!

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    Now something is going terribly wrong here! Tell you what, let’s just forget trying to observe evolution in the lab, I mean it really is kind of cramped in the lab you know, and now let’s REALLY open the floodgates and let’s see what the almighty power of neo-Darwinian evolution can do with the ENTIRE WORLD at its disposal? Surely now almighty neo-Darwinian evolution will flex its awesomely powerful muscles and forever make those IDiots, who believe in Intelligent Design, cower in terror!

    A review of : The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’
    Michael Behe The Edge of Evolution p. 155

    “The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146

    “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.”
    Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162

    Kenneth Miller Steps on Darwin’s Achilles Heel – Michael Behe – January 17, 2015
    Excerpt: Enter Achilles and his heel. It turns out that the odds are much better for atovaquone resistance because only one particular malaria mutation is required for resistance. The odds are astronomical for chloroquine because a minimum of two particular malaria mutations are required for resistance. Just one mutation won’t do it. For Darwinism, that is the troublesome significance of Summers et al.: “The findings presented here reveal that the minimum requirement for (low) CQ transport activity … is two mutations.”
    Darwinism is hounded relentlessly by an unshakeable limitation: if it has to skip even a single tiny step — that is, if an evolutionary pathway includes a deleterious or even neutral mutation — then the probability of finding the pathway by random mutation decreases exponentially. If even a few more unselected mutations are needed, the likelihood rapidly fades away.,,,
    So what should we conclude from all this? Miller grants for purposes of discussion that the likelihood of developing a new protein binding site is 1 in 10^20. Now, suppose that, in order to acquire some new, useful property, not just one but two new protein-binding sites had to develop. In that case the odds would be the multiple of the two separate events — about 1 in 10^40, which is somewhat more than the number of cells that have existed on earth in the history of life. That seems like a reasonable place to set the likely limit to Darwinism, to draw the edge of evolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92771.html

    Now, there is something terribly wrong here! After looking high and low and everywhere in between, we can’t seem to find the almighty power of neo-Darwinism anywhere!! Shoot we can’t even find ANY power of neo-Darwinism whatsoever!!! It is as if the whole neo-Darwinian theory, relentlessly sold to the general public as it was the gospel truth, is nothing but a big fat lie!

  11. 11
    Graham2 says:

    bF: It is evidence for the speed of light, but not evidence for its varying. He doesn’t once suggest, not even a hint, as to whether the speed of light (for eg) is increasing, decreasing, cyclical, whatever. All he can do is bleat that well, gosh, maybe it varys. That’s it. No evidence, no hypothesis, just, well, maybe, it varys.

    BA77: I read the 1st 2 lines then gave up. Are you the same person as KF ? The style is different, but the volume is similar.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Graham2 since your attention span seems to be limited to two sentences, can you provide evidence for unguided material creating functional information/complexity?

    Perhaps a molecular machine?

    Was that too long for you?

    Dr. James Tour, who, in my honest opinion, currently builds the most sophisticated man-made molecular machines in the world, will buy lunch for anyone who can explain to him exactly how Darwinian evolution works:

    Top Ten Most Cited Chemist in the World Knows Darwinian Evolution Does Not Work – James Tour, Phd. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y5-VNg-S0s

    “I build molecules for a living, I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
    James Tour – one of the leading nano-tech engineers in the world – Strobel, Lee (2000), The Case For Faith, p. 111

    Science & Faith — Dr. James Tour – video (At the two minute mark of the following video, you can see a nano-car that was built by Dr. James Tour’s team)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR4QhNFTtyw

    You really need to get that ADD (attention deficit disorder) looked at Graham2

    AWOLNATION – Sail (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgIqecROs5M

  13. 13
    Tim says:

    Graham2@11
    Are you complaining that there is too much evidence?

  14. 14
    Graham2 says:

    BA77: If you stick to the topic, we might get somewhere.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Graham2, you provide the evidence I requested and then we can shut the whole ID movement down! How’s that for ‘getting somewhere’?? That’s your ultimate goal in the first place isn’t it?

    I just want to know where the jaw dropping complexity in Life came from.

    Scientists in the field of brain research now inform us that a single human brain contains more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! According to Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brain’s complexity is staggering, beyond anything his team of researchers had ever imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-547183

    I don’t care what you think about Sheldrake’s speculations. Seeing as you made a blanket statement that we ignorant ‘creationists’ do not understand evidence, I thought you would be the right person to ask for evidence. Apparently not. Oh well, I’ll keep asking you Darwinists for ‘evidence’ if you don’t mind! 🙂

  16. 16
    Graham2 says:

    BA77: The topic. Tricky concept, isnt it ?

  17. 17
    skram says:

    bFast:

    If one year they publish a number with twenty digits of precision, and a few years later they publish a new number with 20 digits of precision, why do you discount this as evidence?

    Can you back up this claim with actual numbers? I don’t think any physical quantity has been measured with a 20-digit precision.

    But never mind that. Provide an example of a physical quantity that had been measured with a high precision (don’t forget the error bars) and then provide a later measurement (also with error bars) that was inconsistent with the previous one.

    If you make a claim, be prepared to defend it.

  18. 18
    bFast says:

    Skram, I was quoting Graham2 on the 20 digit bit. I was rehearsing what I had remembered from Sheldrake’s book.

    As to the data provided, please see “The Science Delusion” p. 90 for a graph of the gravitational constant. (Source material sited in the end notes provided in the book.)

    I quote: “Between 1973 and 2010 the lowest value of G was 6.6659 and the highest was 6.734, a 1.1% difference. These published values are given with at least three places of decimals, and sometimes to five, with estimated errors of a few parts per million. … The differences between recent high and low values is more than fourty times greater than the estimated errors (expressed as standard deviations).”

  19. 19
    bFast says:

    Graham2, “He doesn’t once suggest, not even a hint, as to whether the speed of light (for eg) is increasing, decreasing, cyclical, whatever. All he can do is bleat that well, gosh, maybe it varys. That’s it. No evidence, no hypothesis, just, well, maybe, it varys.”

    Ah, here’s your schtick — “no hypothesis”. You seem to think that an alternative position must be provided to falsify the current view. This, my dear fellow, is balderdash! Falsification only requires evidence that the current explanation is inadequate. A new explanation need not be provided.

    To bring it into a legal context, if I am accused of a robbery, I need only proved that I could not have committed the robbery. I don’t need to establish who did commit the robbery to prove my innocence. In the same way, if the data doesn’t fit the theory, no new theory is immediately required.

    As far as your statement, “no evidence”, please read my response to skram above. I sited evidence. That is what evidence looks like.

  20. 20
    bFast says:

    BA77, “I just want to know where the jaw dropping complexity in Life came from.” You radically understate the gravity of the problem!

  21. 21
    Graham2 says:

    bF: You have picked out the 2 extreme observations to make a point. That’s called cherry-picking. How many observations were in between ? What is the nature of the distribution of these observations ? Also, estimation of the precision is itself, an estimate.

    Apparently, G is a fairly difficult quantity to experimentally measure, and its precision hasn’t improved a lot.

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    Graham2: You have picked out the 2 extreme observations by bFast to make a point. That’s called cherry-picking.

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    bFast, I don’t quite understand. Exactly which problem am I understating? The complexity of life or the one you are currently focused on? If it is the complexity of life I am understating I would like to know how the brain being more complex that the entire internet, with all the attached computers combined, could be understating the problem. And if it is the problem you are currently focused on, I would have to see some fairly major evidence for variance in constants, from several top notch sources, before I accepted that constants can vary. You see, invariant constants are a theistic prediction not a materialistic prediction:

    Psalm 119:89-91
    Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.

    According to the materialistic philosophy, there are no apparent reasons why the value of each transcendent universal constant could not have varied dramatically from what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of materialism expects a fairly large amount of flexibility, indeed chaos, in the underlying constants for the universe, since the constants themselves are postulated to randomly ’emerge’ from some, as far as I can tell, completely undefined material basis at the Big Bang. In fact if an atheist were ever to be truly consistent in his thinking (which would be a miracle in its own right) he would have to admit that he should a-priori expect variance in the universal laws and constants, like this following astronomer did:

    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006
    Excerpt: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,” says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. “These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are.”
    The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge (if they hold up): The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”,,,
    The speed of light, for instance, might be measured one day with a ruler and a clock. If the next day the same measurement gave a different answer, no one could tell if the speed of light changed, the ruler length changed, or the clock ticking changed.
    http://www.space.com/2613-scie.....-laws.html

    Indeed, the materialistic worldview is, at its ‘chaotic’ base, very antagonistic to the very idea that we should find such unchanging laws. This fact alone goes a long way towards explaining why there were no atheists at the founding of the modern scientific revolution. Yet, Christianity, contrary to what atheists would prefer to believe, is very nurturing to such an idea of unchanging universal constants. And indeed it can be, and has been, forcefully argued that that reason is one of the main reasons why we always find that the great men at the founding of the modern scientific revolution were devout Christians. As C. S. Lewis, in his clear no nonsense style, put it:

    “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it.”
    Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    Moreover, most atheists do not seem to realize that if the universal constants were actually found to have even a small variance in them then this would destroy our ability to practice science rationally, for it would undermine our ability to mathematically model the universe in a reliable fashion. For example, if the speed of light constant, or if the invisible glue that holds nuclei together, varied, e=mc2 would be totally useless to us as a reliable description of reality. Please note what chaos ensue if just a very small variance were found to be in the universal constants:

    “The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge: The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”
    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006

  24. 24
    skram says:

    bFast:

    As to the data provided, please see “The Science Delusion” p. 90 for a graph of the gravitational constant. (Source material sited in the end notes provided in the book.)

    I quote: “Between 1973 and 2010 the lowest value of G was 6.6659 and the highest was 6.734, a 1.1% difference. These published values are given with at least three places of decimals, and sometimes to five, with estimated errors of a few parts per million. … The differences between recent high and low values is more than fourty times greater than the estimated errors (expressed as standard deviations).”

    bFast,

    The most authoritative values of fundamental physical constants are published by the Task Group on Fundamental Constants of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA). The committee was established in 1966. It published the “official” values of the gravitational constant in 1973, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006, and most recently in 2010.

    Here are the historical values of G×10^{11} and their standard deviations:

    1973 6.6720±0.0041
    1986 6.67259±0.00085
    1998 6.673±0.010
    2002 6.6742±0.0010
    2006 6.67428±0.00067
    2010 6.67384±0.00080

    Source: Vadim Milyukov, Moscow State University. http://www.saske.sk/FFK2012/si.....2012_0.pdf

    For convenience, I created a plot: click. The dashed lines delineate the 95-percent confidence interval (plus-minus 2 standard deviations) for the latest official value (2010).

    As you can see, all the published intervals overlap.

  25. 25
    skram says:

    bFast,

    Individual measurements falling well outside the “official” confidence intervals (such as the 6.734 value) are indeed red herrings.

    As Graham2 already mentioned, G is notoriously difficult to measure. The force of gravity between two human-scale objects is extremely weak: two objects with masses 1 ton and 1 kilogram separated by a distance of 1 meter attract each other with a force equal to 6.67×10^{−8} newtons, the weight of a grain of sand. Plenty of other forces impact these measurements: vibrations of a car passing by on the street, changes in air pressure, electromagnetic signals, etc. It is not easy to even estimate the experimental error.

    Nonetheless, experimentalists have been getting better at measuring G. If you look at the more recent measurements (2000 on, see Milyukov’s presentation), there are no outliers like the ones cherry picked by Sheldrake.

  26. 26
    bFast says:

    BA77, “bFast, I don’t quite understand. Exactly which problem am I understating?” You are understating the problem of the complexity of life. But that’s OK, I don’t know how to describe the problem without understating myself.

    Skram, your response to Sheldrake’s conjecture is very studious, thank you.

Leave a Reply