Thursday, January 27, 2011

Animal ESP researcher gives University College science and technology lecture

I see where Rupert Sheldrake, who studies awareness at a distance in animals and has produced some interesting results, gave the Annual iBSc Lecture to the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London: "The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence."

"Awareness at a distance", sometimes called ESP, is trashed by Richard Dawkins as a threat to materialism. At one point, Sheldrake had to ask Dawkins and TV entourage to leave his lab, when they made their intentions clear.

Oddly enough, ESP isn't particularly a threat to materialism except insofar as it challenges the idea that resolutely denying the possibility of action at a distance (as in gravity, for example) is in itself some kind of a science. Anyway, here's the abstract:
We have been brought up to believe that the mind is located inside the head. But Dr. Sheldrake argues that there are good reasons for thinking that this view is much too limited. His recent experimental results suggest that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even if they look from behind and if all sensory clues are eliminated. Animals can be affected by human looks, and vice versa.

People's intentions can also seem to be detectable telepathically by animals from miles away. Hundreds of recent tests have also shown that some people can tell who is calling them before they pick up the phone. Our minds seem to extend out beyond our brains both through attention
and intention. Rupert Sheldrake will show how his hypothesis of morphic fields could help provide an explanation.

(Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and several books, including "A New Science of Life" and "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home". He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, a visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut and lives in London. His web site is
Sheldrake's idea of a morphic field reminded me of something, and then I suddenly realized what it was: Moving around a three million-person city. The guy whose face is parked an inch from mine on the Toronto subway at rush hour is not invading my space. But if I were just walking down a typical street ... it would be a confrontation. One is constantly adjusting one's idea of one's own space based on social assessments. It is not a rigid thing at all.

In any event, the idea that the mind is not wholly inside the brain does not seem unreasonable. The mind apprehends mathematics, yet it cannot really be said that the laws that govern mathematics are "inside the brain."

Note: Some people get really upset by what they hear. Or (?) Sheldrake was stabbed at a 2008 lecture in New Mexico ...