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The Science Delusion Paperback – 6 Dec 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet (6 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144472794X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444727944
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Sheldrake powerfully reminds us that science must be pursued with an open mind.' (Robert Jackson, former UK Minister for Science)

'This is a terrific, engrossing book that throws open the shutters to reveal our world to be so much more intriguing and profound than could ever have been supposed.' (Dr James Le Fanu, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine)

'The author, a biologist, takes issue with the idea that science already understands the nature of reality - and in doing so, frees up the spirit of enquiry.' (The Times)

'There is something rather odd about the current state of science. For Rupert Sheldrake, [it is] facing a 'credibility crunch' on many fronts. He presents this challenging argument by identifying 'ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted.' He then interrogates each in turn by reformulating it, in the spirit of radical scepticism, as a question. This Socratic method of inquiry proves surprisingly illuminating. A serious mind-expanding book.' (James le Fanu, The Spectator)

'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.' (Crispin Tickell, Financial Times)

'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.' (Colin Tudge, The Independent)

Rupert Sheldrake shows very convincingly the way that time and again scientists refuse to look at anything outside a very limited set of possibilities. Sheldrake shows powerfully how some professional skeptics simply have no interest in looking into claims for anything outside of our current scientific understanding. A valuable and powerful message. (

'Isn't it nice to have some mystery back? Isn't it nice to have doubts?' (Esquire)

'We must somehow find different, more realistic ways of understanding human beings - and indeed other animals - as the active wholes that they are, rather than pretending to see them as meaningless consignments of chemicals. Rupert Sheldrake, who has long called for this development, spells out this need forcibly in his new book. He shows how materialism has gradually hardened into a kind of anti-Christian principle, claiming authority to dictate theories and to veto inquiries on topics that don't suit it, such as unorthodox medicine, let along religion. He shows just how unworkable the assumptions behind today's fashionable habits have become. The 'science delusion' of his title is the current popular confidence in certain fixed assumptions - the exaltation of today's science, not as the busy, constantly changing workshop that it actually is but as a final, infallible oracle preaching a crude kind of materialism... His insistence on the need to attend to possible wider ways of thinking is surely right.' (Mary Midgley, The Guardian)

'A fascinating, humane and refreshing book that any layman can enjoy, in which he takes ten supposed scientific 'laws' and turns them, instead, into questions... Dr Sheldrake wants to bring energy and excitement back into science... he has already done more than any other scientist alive to broaden the appeal of the discipline, and readers should get their teeth into the important and astounding book.' (Country Life)

'This is a delightful, interesting, informative, highly readable and much needed book and we definitely recommend it.' (

'This is a book about science and understanding the world that I have been hoping to read for years. It should be on every science student's course.' (The Oldie)

'This book is worth reading because of the depth of focus that the author brings to bear not only on the mind and our fixed opinions but also on our unthinking acceptance of the world, as we like to see it, along with our unquestioned assumptions.' (The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society)

'Sheldrake will be seen as a prophet.' (The Sunday Times)

An entertaining read. (The Sunday Times)

Whether or not we want to follow Sheldrake's further speculations on topics such as morphic resonance, his insistence on the need to attend to possible wider ways of thinking is surely right. (Guardian)

The maverick scientist questions the orthodox of "scientific worldview". (Observer)

Book Description

The scientific counter argument to Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Allen on 26 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'The Science Delusion' was published on 1 January 2012 in the UK. I remember queuing up at a talk given in London by the author book to launch his book, only to discover that all the seats had been sold out and they couldn't let me in; I should have booked a ticket in advance. I was disappointed; as a member of the Scientific and Medical Network, I knew from previous presentations given by Rupert Sheldrake for the SMN, that he is an engrossing speaker with a wide range of interests. So I had to settle for downloading 'The Science Delusion' as an e-book rather than getting an autographed hard cover as I hoped. Nevertheless, it turned out to be such an interesting read that I finished it in next to no time and it came as no surprise to me that 'The Science Delusion' was selected as SMN book of the year in 2013.

Published in the US on 4 September 2012 as Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery, this book summarises much of Sheldrake's previous work and advances a broader critique of philosophical materialism.
Its title apparently mimics that of 'The God Delusion' by one of his critics, Richard Dawkins. However, In an interview with Fortean Times, Sheldrake denied that Dawkins' book was the inspiration for his own, saying, "The title was at the insistence of my publishers, and the book will be re-titled in the USA as Science Set Free... Dawkins is a passionate believer in materialist dogma, but the book is not a response to him".
In the introduction to 'The Science Delusion', Sheldrake insists that this book is pro-science and that his intention is liberate the field from the dogmas that constrict it. he then goes on to list what he calls the ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted.
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As an erstwhile physicist, but more essentially a seeker of truth, it has become apparent to me that in many respects the way science is frequently conducted resembles more a faith based religion than open minded objective (or even subjective) enquiry. It has in many ways become as non-cognisant of the underlying assumptions its models rest upon as the certainties endemic in religion 300 years ago and now reigns similarly unchallenged and is likewise tempted to an inflated confidence bordering on arrogance.

The potential for wasted time, effort and resources in this are obvious, though I fully acknowledge the manifest benefits that the technological application of scientific discoveries has brought to the human condition. Bad science will never get us to truth. Good science (requiring the toleration of great uncertainty and the ongoing retention of the awareness of the underlying assumptions and therefore the qualified nature of the conclusions drawn) might get us eventually to ultimate truth and it might then harmonise with what might be called "good religion" i.e. the, as yet, uncovered meanings in some of the mystical material therein. The over-arching requirement that postulated fact should be demonstrable would remain (i.e. the essence of the scientific method would survive) but it is unlikely that it would look like the system of science practiced in the last 300 years. We will have to abandon (further abandon) the "luxury" of perceiving ourselves as outside the field of observation (the experiment, if you like) but that's another issue.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Beserker on 28 Jun. 2014
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One of the best books I have ever read. You can tell that Rupert's thinking is out of the box. I have read this book three times already, I am reading it for the fourth time as every time I read something I missed the last time around. I cannot recommend it enough, it will make you think that's for sure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paras Salunkhe on 22 Jun. 2014
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This is a very meticulously written book bringing forth the limitation of science in professing its ability to explain everything and mainly our lives. Rupert points out that the fundamental assumptions of science like 'conservation of energy' and invariability of fundamental consents is indeed questionable. He also questions the assumption that nature and our lives are mechanical, that everything can be justified through the reductionist approach of breaking of things in their constituents and explaining phenomenons as interaction between these constants.

Further we are taken through more intriguing questions, which might shake our understanding of nature, like, is matter conscious? is nature purposeless? Are minds confined to brains? The discussion to these questions is written is very simple language as well as is written considering even the materialist point of view.

Rupert also argues that, there indeed is a credible evidence for psychic phenomenon in humans and animals which is conveniently ignored by sceptics. He points forth that the current science only funds the materialist research and there is need for investing funds in these more unconventional areas.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By on 5 Mar. 2012
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As the author of [...] I get dozens of books from writers hoping to either bridge the gap between the two fields, or use one to ridicule and negate the other.

Finally, at long last, after fifteen years, here is the first credible, thoughtful, perceptive and imaginative book by a scientific mind which explains why science is floundering on all fronts, and why its chief proponents seem so strangely detached from reality. It turns out they are! Science has decayed from an intriguing humanitarian investigation, coloured and directed with feeling and intuition - the chief levers by which original discoveries were made - to a dry, unreadable chore in which the self is actually abandoned. As a result, science is losing its credibility at precisely the same rate at which it is chopping up and dispensing with its humanity.

As Sheldrake points out, the scientific habit of presenting experimental activity as if it performed itself, without a thinking being at the helm, is a deceptive front intended to feign impartiality. But because the performer disappears, it causes the audience, too, to wander off disinterested.

This steady reductionism has caused science itself to be left behind by the advancing human mind, like a sandcastle eroded by the tide. The book shows how imaginative and adventurous science COULD be. And it turns out science turns out as an adventure where the human mind itself mingles with reality. This is a book anyone in the sciences should read, today, before that coffee, before they do anything else.
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