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Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  825 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
The bestselling author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home offers an intriguing new assessment of modern day science that will radically change the way we view what is possible.

In Science Set Free (originally published to acclaim in the UK as The Science Delusion), Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows the ways in which
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Deepak Chopra (first published January 1st 2012)
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Bruce me. This term was coined I think by Sheldrake over 30 years ago but has been taken on and I have seen it in a number of books.
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Brian Clegg
Half of what's in this quite chunky tome is excellent - the trouble is that I suspect the other bits, which aren't so good, will put off those that really should be reading it.

The fundamental message Rupert Sheldrake is trying to get across is that science typically operates in a very blinkered, limited way. And he's right. He shows very convincingly the way that time and again scientists refuse to look at anything outside of a very limited set of possibilities, not because there is good evidenc
Robert Lomas
Dec 23, 2011 Robert Lomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist with a distinguished track record as fellow of Clare College Cambridge where he served as Director of Studies in cell biology before heading up the Perrott-Warwick Project to investigate human abilities at Trinity College, Cambridge. He has published over 80 peer reviewed scientific papers and ten books. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University where he got a double first in botany and biology. He then spent a year a Harvard studying the history and ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This needs to be two separate reviews. One for past readers of Sheldrake, and one for newbies.

Newbies, you get three things here: *The historical background and philosophical/metaphysical background of contemporary scientific ideas. *A collection of areas of scientific thought which have EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE which challenge widely held assumptions. *Alternative theories which might explain the challenging evidence.

Some people make the mistake of dismissing the first two aspects of the book beca
Paul Kieniewicz
Mar 04, 2012 Paul Kieniewicz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-expanding
Upon finishing “The Science Delusion”, I’m left wondering why scientists are so unpopular. In the present US presidential campaign, the viable Republican candidates all run on an anti-science platform. (Don’t believe in evolution; don’t believe in global warming). Opinion polls also indicate a public skeptical of science. In the UK, public confidence in scientists isn’t particularly high either. A scientific endorsement of GM crops doesn't carry very far. According to recent polls, a majority of ...more
Perry Clark
Sheldrake has produced here a take on the limitations of science that inhere in a materialist approach to the world and the subject. It is very much the sort of thing one might expect from an author with a strong science background who also has Deepak Chopra on his shelf next to Darwin. In fact, I suspect that his volumes of Darwin have much more dust than do his more iconoclastic authors. I declined to continue reading after chapter 3 (of 12), as I was convinced by the preface, introduction, an ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Essential, for me, anyway: a scientist who outs reductive materialism in the sciences as an ideology, rather than a testable hypothesis, and suggests ways to test it. I was raised an atheist, and continue to feel that organized religion is basically superstition used as a form of social control. But as issues of ecology and the survival of natural systems began to seem more crucial to me, I began to wonder, is it really possible for people to fight with all their strength to "save" something tha ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
He should go back and do some more science instead. logic, philosophy not his forte. He starts off on the wrong foot with ten straw men and then claims success when he ( sometimes successfully) shoots them down. This book is annoyingly difficult to read, the writing is accessible enough but digging for the occasional nuggets ( some are really good) in a mountain of fluff is hard work. Some of his comments are really good but way too often he is away with the fairies. His morphogenesis idea is ju ...more
Evan Morris
Apr 08, 2013 Evan Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, thoughtful work that scientists should get a great benefit from. Sheldrake, himself a scientist of good repute, here reminds scientists what the fundamental nature of scientific inquiry is, and restates the limits of scientific knowledge, which many scientists have either forgotten or are too uneducated about their own disciplines to have ever learned in the first place.

I am highly amused by the vitriol directed at this book by the self-proclaimed defenders of science. Such people
Mar 22, 2013 Dan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If this book proves nothing else (and it doesn't) it proves that Andy Kaufman is alive and well, and pulling off his greatest prank so far: baffling deep thinkers everywhere by publishing gibberish under the guise of "philosophy". I almost expected to find "had you going there for a while, didn't I?" printed on the final page. This book IS a bad joke, and I can't imagine who could take this string of flawed arguments seriously.
Kathleen Brugger
Jan 01, 2014 Kathleen Brugger rated it really liked it
Most people think science is free from bias and fashion. This is not true. If a scientist does not work within the current paradigms they don't get tenure or get published. In this book Sheldrake takes on ten of the core beliefs that shape science's biases, including "nothing but physical matter exists," "nature has no purpose," and "all matter is unconscious."

Sheldrake is a scientist and attacks these beliefs from a scientific perspective. The only problem is the evidence he uses, the experime
Jeff Suwak
Jun 07, 2015 Jeff Suwak rated it it was amazing
This is a book thinking people ought to read. It made me realize how much of my worldview, which I confidently (arrogantly?) thought was based on solid reason and a basic grasp of science, was really just dogma that I couldn't defend against Sheldrake's examinations.

It doesn't really matter, in my opinion, whether one ultimately comes out doubting their previous views and considering new ones, or if they reinforce the old and make it stronger; either way, this book will challenge people's perce
Rosemary Allix
Feb 26, 2012 Rosemary Allix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I was fascinated by Sheldrake's theories on morphic resonance, and my own concept of the world has been influenced by him. It seems to sit very comforably alongside teachings of the Buddha. When the author was in Brighton this week I was delighted to hear him speak about this new book, and to acquire a signed copy. It might take a while to plough through it. There is a lot to think about in this new offering of the Sheldrake view of the world.
Jan 29, 2012 Sheldon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important discussion of where scientific enquiry has been hampered by the politics of science. This book points out some of the fundamental misdirections that are generally accepted as scientific fact.
Oct 29, 2013 Joseph rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the words of John Greenbank, it is "a preposterous confection. It may unsettle some general readers and turn others away from science, but for the scientifically-initiated it is simply incoherent." (
Si Barron
Nov 01, 2015 Si Barron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In a word: bullshit
Aasem Bakhshi
Jun 26, 2013 Aasem Bakhshi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, philosophy
Overall a good read but generally the tone gets more and more strawmannish towards the end of each of the ten questions he sets out to explore.
Dec 27, 2013 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there’s bias in scientific experiments, it’s usually put down to something subtle but essentially mundane - subconscious cues in the behaviour of experimenters being picked up by their subjects, for instance. In a characteristically radical claim, Rupert Sheldrake suggests we should be looking for much more exotic causes like “mind-over-matter effects or psychokinesis”.

The vast majority of scientists would scoff: we don’t need to worry about effects that seem more like magic than science.
Mary Anne Thompson
Feb 13, 2017 Mary Anne Thompson rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I wish more people would read, not just readers like you and I, but scientists and editors of science journals. Science has dug itself a materialistic hole and refuses to get out of it, but just keep on digging the hole deeper and deeper. More than humans have feelings, thoughts and consciousness. Anyone who has ever owned a dog or cat or lived on a small farm where animals are not treated like commodities, knows that animals are not automated beings; they have emotional live ...more
Nuno Ribeiro
This is an important contribution to science. And if you (without reading it) are willing to dismiss it as pseudo-science, you might want to check what it is that made you trigger that automatic defense mode. And this is exactelly the point. The bigger context for this, today, is the one that got us into, for instance, such things as the terrible rise of modern creationism, that has millions and millions of dollars invested so that a child can be raised into an adult without ever being "exposed" ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Harrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Having just recently read Kelly Mitchell's excellent [[ASIN:1897244681 Spiritual Autopsy of Science and Religion]], I was happy to see Rupert Sheldrake had a new book on a similar theme. It turns out, Sheldrake's book covers some of the same ground as Mitchell: cosmology, medicine, genetics, philosophy. According to Sheldrake, the practice of science is at a crossroads. While many of the tenets of materialism have been challenged by new discoveries, scientists cling to an outmoded philosophy - m ...more
Khashayar Toodehfallah
Jun 24, 2014 Khashayar Toodehfallah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Most other reviews will give you a general idea of what the book is about and what Sheldrake is trying to achieve or rather convey with this book, so I will spare my opinion on those aspects for this review would look all too repetitive otherwise.

I will however tell you about the great density of knowledge that is provided by Sheldrake. He's as excellent of a writer as he is a scientist so the book has a flow comparable to a well written story. It guides you through the timeline of science and p
Zakaria Bziker
Dec 24, 2014 Zakaria Bziker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, science
This is one of the best books I've read. I think it came as a reaction to 'The God Delusion' by Dawkins. This book not only sets forth evidence in favor of God's existence but also acquaints the reader with the current scientific dilemma. If I were to compare Dawkins' book and Sheldrake's, I would say that Dawkins did nothing but restate the old arguments against God's existence. On the other hand, Sheldrake supports his stand by current evidence from science and philosophy. It's really inspirin ...more
Dylan Horrocks
Man, what a mixed bag - I really want to give this 2.5 stars. There's some good material in here and I recommend the penultimate chapter on the messiness of scientific research and publication. If only Sheldrake had been able to concentrate on discussing the problems with rigid doctrinaire scientific materialism, this would have been an interesting and provocative read. But partway into almost every chapter he finds an excuse to start pushing his own pet theory, morphic resonance, which is uncon ...more
Pranada Comtois
Dec 22, 2016 Pranada Comtois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some scientists don't take Sheldrake seriously, but broad-minded scientists do. He challenges several scientific dogmas and orthodoxies that deserve to be examined.

Chapter titles indicate the topics he undertakes to explore and question: Is Nature Mechanical? Is the total Amount of Matter and Energy Always the Same? Are the Laws of Nature Fixed? Is Matter Unconscious? Is Nature Purposeless? Is All Biological Inheritance Material? Are Minds Confined to Brains?

The subtitle is apropos: freeing the
Marc Dorval
Feb 09, 2014 Marc Dorval rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I found this book disappointing. The author asks some great and intriguing questions, and presents some interesting anecdotes. He loses me, though, when he jumps to conclusions about resonance and other ideas.

In other words, he presents an idea as a hypothesis, but then proceeds to point out how much better and true that idea must be.

I would have enjoyed this much more if he had presented his hypotheses, and laid out ideas on how they could be tested (instead of declaring how simple it would be
Jim Johnson
May 13, 2014 Jim Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was simply boooooring and uninspired. I finished the book have gained no greater understanding of anything. That is not to say that I had nothing to learn. It's just really hard to latch on to these concepts when the author/narrator make everything sound so bland. This guy really shouldn't be talking about science.
Brian Dichter
Dec 01, 2013 Brian Dichter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing here but straw man arguments against so-called materialists. Pseudoscience posing as real science yet failing, at least for those who do not believe in the supernatural. This book is aimed at a specific audience who are likely confused about science and already angry towards mainstream science.
Aug 02, 2014 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks God THAT's over.
What a terrible book. I don't know what's worse - the fact that people actually care about this garbage or that apparently people can make a living caring about this stuff.
Fortunately, none of the 6 guys in my book club could finish it and we all thought it stunk.
Alan Fuller
Mar 07, 2016 Alan Fuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Modern science assumes the materialistic worldview. Scientist Rupert Sheldrake explores the edges of modern science and examines its dogmas.
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
We view science as a winnower of dogmas - evidentially unfounded belief systems. When it works well this is what it does, but no human institution can be truly free of human weaknesses. Many scientists also cling to dogmatic beliefs and their work is hindered by this. Materialism (the belief that everything can be explained in terms of matter and known forms of energy), reductionism (the belief that complex phenomena can be understood by reducing them to their constituent parts) and mechanism (t ...more
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Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he ...more
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“It’s almost as if science said, “Give me one free miracle, and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation.”’17 The one free miracle was the sudden appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe, with all the laws that govern it.” 10 likes
“First, some physicists insist that quantum mechanics cannot be formulated without taking into account the minds of observers. They argue that minds cannot be reduced to physics because physics presupposes the minds of physicists” 7 likes
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