Sunday, 5 February 2012
I have a certain amount of sympathy for Rupert Sheldrake's views on science, most recently expressed in The Science Delusion. He is interested in phenomena that science cannot explain, such as the apparent ability of dogs to know when their owners are coming home, and other instances of telepathy. Many of us have experienced such instances, and know that they cannot be replicated to order or under strictly controlled conditions. But the point - the usefulness - of science is to be able to predict what reliably happens, under what conditions; it is a method which has led to all the physical amenities of the modern world. There is room for doubt in science - it's about the strength of the predictive model. If Sheldrake can inspire better experiments or a more powerful explanatory theoretical framework for the observable world, good for him. Robust debate is the friend of progress.