Found myself listening to Rupert Sheldrake last night in the Essex Unitarian Church at Notting Hill Gate in front of a congregation of The Jung Club. Fascinating encounter, despite being really only a 25 minute potted summary of his Morphic Resonance field hypothesis – increasingly elaborated in his later works with more opportunities for empirical testing in more and more contexts. The encounter of course was an opportunity for the Jungian chair and audience to relate MR to panpsychism, dreams, memories, near-(and-post)-death experiences
He’s still very much a scientist – his focus on empirical testability more than the “how” aspects of explanatory theory – but also openly a god-believing Christian despite having previously been not only atheist but a “rabid materialist” like most other scientists. He expressed sympathy for Bohmian interpretations of Quantum Theories since the material bottom fell out of the materialist world.
Hard to tell whether he still has an academic position and Cambridge, Trinity College. His position with the Perrot-Warrick fund for paranormal research, administered by Trinity, is lapsed, but he’s still included in the set of talks collected by Brian Josephson whose views I also respect. Not surprising given Sheldrake’s views he’s shunned by mainstream academic science. Funnily enough I nearly asked last night how he stood in relation to the memetic and paranormal schools, and I see Sue Blackmore was a previous holder of the funded research role. Small world.