Intelligent Design Naturalism Philosophy Science

Dialogue: Rupert Sheldrake vs. Michael Shermer

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Sheldrake-Shermer Just in:

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.

Animal behaviourist and former Darwinian Rupert Sheldrake vs. self-described skeptic and Darwin fan Michael Shermer.

Opening statements:

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.

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15 Replies to “Dialogue: Rupert Sheldrake vs. Michael Shermer

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Thanks News. Notice the contrast. Sheldrake – exploration, inquiry, evidence. Shermer – defining terms so materialism wins by default.

  2. 2
    News says:

    I think Shermer is a parade float all by himself. Not an easy job but someone’s gotta.

  3. 3
    Jim Smith says:

    …science is the only form of reliable knowledge that we have.

    Has that been proven that scientifically?

    Many intellects have pointed out that belief in materialism is self-defeating because you cannot trust a mind that evolved for survival not truth or one where thoughts are the result of material processes not meaning. Edward Feser writes that this constitutes a reducto ad absurdum and thus materialism is false.

    Science / materialism can’t tell us about ethics.

    Albert Einstein
    “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”

    Nietzsche
    “Indeed, only if we assume a God who is morally our like can “truth” and the search for truth be at all something meaningful and promising of success. This God left aside, the question is permitted whether being deceived is not one of the conditions of life.”

    Richard Taylor
    “The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, not noticing that, in casting God aside, they have also abolished the conditions of meaningfulness for moral right and wrong as well. Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things as war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights, are morally wrong, and they imagine that they have said something true and significant. Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion. He concludes, Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air; which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning.”

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

    Viktor Frankl
    “If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.
    “I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: LIVING WATERS The Trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm6eEZvdRmw

    Save the Date! Premiere of Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth, at Seattle’s McCaw Hall on August 7
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95711.html

  5. 5
    bFast says:

    Shermer is a simpleton. Consider the shallowness of this statement:

    In this sense, then—as I’ve mentioned many times in my critique of theories about Psi, ESP, miracles, and the like—there is no such thing as the paranormal or the supernatural. These words “paranormal” and “supernatural” are precisely parallel to “nervous energy” and force mentale: just linguistic placeholders to talk about something for which we do not as yet have a normal or natural explanation.

    He speaks of: “Just linguistic placeholders to talk about something for which we do not as yet have a normal or natural explanation.”

    and he declares, “there is no such thing as the paranormal or the supernatural.”

    Question for Shermer: if God, if there is an external intelligence that twiddles with nature, then how on earth can Shermer possibly find him/her/it?

    Honest methodological naturalism would say “we don’t know, we may never know”. However, honest methodological naturalism must remain agnostic as to the cause of the “we don’t know” bits. In doing as Shermer does, we end up with “science of the gaps”, the exact sin that he accuses the ID community of.

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    Shermer is trying to have his cake and eat it too. On the one hand he dismisses the ID arguments that such and such can only be explained as resulting from an intelligent cause as being the illegal claim of “god of the gaps”.

    On the other hand he says, “In that case, in principle, such a God (or force) would simply become part of the natural world.” The idea that, if God, then “natural” includes God is very nice, but how do you then dismiss the evidence for an external tampering agent with the “god of the gaps” dismissal. If we broaden naturalism so that it encompasses the activity of an external God-force, how can we cry foul when we see evidence of this external God-force?

  7. 7
    bFast says:

    Re news(2) — so well said!

  8. 8
    Andre says:

    Why can’t science tell me why I love the color orange?

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    Andre, you do not exist. Science cannot model or explain entities which do not exist.

  10. 10
    groovamos says:

    Orange IS special. Can “science” tell us why the English speaking populations were not able to evolve a word rhyming with ‘orange’? If “science” cannot tell us why not, can “science” tell us why “science” cannot tell us why not? If not, then can “science” tell us why “science” cannot… (well time to mow the lawn “science” is so complicated).

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    Orange is especially abhorrent to a Fenian, Groovamos.

  12. 12
    Jim Smith says:

    I saw an orange sporange in Blorenge.
    But, why can’t science tell me why orange looks orange?

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    radio
    Dr Frank Turek sits down with atheist Michael Shermer – April 2015
    http://streamer1.afa.net/afr-a.....150425.mp3

    Dr Frank Turek takes time to respond to some points made during his conversation with Dr Shermer – May 2015
    http://streamer1.afa.net/afr-a.....150502.mp3

    Audio Archives
    http://afr.net/afr-talk/cross-examined/

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Axel says:

    ‘Shermer is a simpleton.’

    But then, it goes with the territory, doesn’t it, bFast ? The moment I saw the title and read Shermer’s religion…. reading it (without following the links) could only be for fun.

    “god of the gaps”

    And they even seem to think a snappy slogan containing a simple alliteration imbues its vacuity with intelligible content.

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