Through the months of May, June, and July of 2015, TheBestSchools.org is hosting an intensive dialogue on the nature of science between Rupert Sheldrake and Michael Shermer. This first month, the focus is on materialism in science. Dr. Sheldrake will defend that science needs to free itself from materialist dogma; indeed, science misunderstands nature by being wedded to purely materialist explanations. By contrast, Dr. Shermer will defend that science, properly conceived, is a materialistic enterprise; for science to look beyond materialist explanations is to betray science and engage in superstition.
Rupert Sheldrake: I think the interests of the sciences are best served by exploring what we do not understand, even if that leads us beyond the limitations imposed by the materialist philosophy. My scientific allegiance is not to a particular worldview, materialism, but to science as a method of inquiry, open to new possibilities.
Michael Shermer:Thus, it seems to me that once we have carefully defined our terms, it is clear that there really is only the material world, methodological naturalism is the only means to understand it, and science is the only form of reliable knowledge that we have.
We’ll keep you posted.