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Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  715 Ratings  ·  95 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.

InScience Set Free (originally published to acclaimin the UK as The Science Delusion), Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows the ways in which sc
ebook, 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
Jan 10, 2012 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 24, 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
Jul 21, 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
Feb 10, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Evan Morris
Jun 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 30, 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.
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
Kathleen Brugger
Jan 01, 2014 Kathleen Brugger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 01, 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.
May 26, 2015 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." (
Feb 05, 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.
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
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
Jun 13, 2013 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
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.
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
Marc Dorval
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
Sep 17, 2016 Shirin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is rare that I rate a book 5 stars, and this is simply because I am rarely truly amazed. I cannot understand how the word 'amazed' can be spewed at every little thing. 'The burger was amah-zing' it was not, it was delicious. So 5 star here on goodreads means 'it was amazing' and yes I was amazed by the ideas described by Rupert Sheldrake in this book.

This was in Prof A's reading list and I am glad I actually went out of my way to find it at the store though it was somewhat confusing becau
Christopher Taylor
This is a book for people who wonder. A prerequisite for wonder is the recognition that you do not know. If you believe you know, if you are certain that you understand this and that, here and there, then you are not going to be open to new views, new facts, new issues. Your knowledge will have become dogma and your wonder will be dead.

Rupert Sheldrake is a scientist who does not like dogma, especially the dogmatic stance of some contemporary materialists. Sheldrake believes there are many pheno
Alan Fuller
Mar 22, 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.
Sep 15, 2014 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This book offers the untold perspective in general science that not all the conventions followed by the scientific community are absolute and final, that not all scientists strictly follow popular science conventions and have questions which are not to be taken as pseudoscientific but sincere questions.

While I have found myself learning to respect and follow the conventions of science, my thought processes are far different than the norm. This is the book which I've most related to in my views.
Apr 21, 2014 Naomi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I'll be honest, I didn't finish it.

First off there were some brilliant points in here about the way science works. For example, how science students are taught to write in the passive voice, not the active. Science isn't about fact finding and then deducing a result. It's about setting out to prove a particular hypothesis. Science can be very closed minded when it comes to questioning key assumptions and (apparently) likes to stick close to materialistic / reductionist doctrines.

Some chapters
Oct 13, 2016 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On many occasions while reading Rupert Sheldrake’s “Science Set Free,” I become inspired. Inspired by the way Sheldrake asks questions that invoke the mystery of life and challenge areas where thought has become stagnant, inflexible, and assumptive. It even made me realize what parts of my life I had unconsciously refused to look at my own experience because of the way I had been educated.

A great read above the nature of investigation, including the scientist to make science more truthful, manu
Sam Eccleston
Sep 27, 2014 Sam Eccleston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rupert Sheldrake is admittedly a somewhat eccentric scientist. Some of the positive conclusions that he comes to in the course of the book about matters of scientific fact (morphic resonance, psychic phenomena etc) are under-evidenced and under-argued, and really deserve separate treatment of their own. Having said that, his ideas in themselves are no stranger than the conceptual apparatus employed in the average book on cosmology or quantum physics, and so the opprobrium with which he is heaped ...more
Jim Johnson
May 15, 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 10, 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.
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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.” 7 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” 5 likes
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