The vast majority of funding in neuroscience is dedicated to doing more brain scans. Are the programs we see on TV stored in the remote control? Probably the dogma that affects people the most in their everyday lives is the one that says mechanistic medicine — surgery and drugs — is the only kind that works. Other forms of therapy, some of which work well, are ignored or dismissed as having a placebo effect. But a lot of medical results are due to a placebo effect!
That alone tells us that expectation and belief play a huge role in healing. Psychic phenomena like telepathy can be measured. Sheldrake: No. About 80 percent of theoretical physicists are engaged in string-theory research, and some of them find this untestability quite disturbing. Lee Smolin, author of The Trouble with Physics, thinks the field has gotten lost in webs of theoretical speculation.
My theory makes predictions and tests them. If science were more fun, it would be more attractive to students and to taxpayers who pay for grants. And it could be more interesting for scientists themselves. As funding is cut, fewer and fewer projects are approved, and scientists spend more and more time on the grant process, which is quite political.
Journal articles are all subject to anonymous peer review, so critics can be as nasty as they like and crush any new line of thought. It is frustrating that this kind of blinkered approach still determines what gets published, which grants get funded, and what students are taught. There are thousands of papers about telepathy. When I published my first book, A New Science of Life, in , I thought it might take ten years for attitudes to change in biology. Mainstream science is less confident than before.
But there are still deep-seated habits of thought to overcome. The present system will fall apart. The Human Genome Project has failed to deliver.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured down the drain. There are a few niche products that came out of it, but the tremendous optimism about biotechnology is gone. Hill was eccentric. He made his own apparatus and did his measurements with a hand spectroscope. I was impressed by his ability to work inexpensively. Also, when I worked in India, I learned from my colleagues there the potential of low-cost research.
They were not dependent on committees; they just did what they wanted to. For my book I tried to devise paradigm-shattering experiments in physics, chemistry, and biology that could be done on ten dollars or less.
Leviton: What were some of the experiments? Sheldrake: One was on dogs. Many dog owners claim their animals know when a member of the household is about to come home, and the dogs show their anticipation by waiting at a door or window. We investigated a dog named Jaytee in more than a hundred videotaped experiments. His owner, Pam, traveled at least seven kilometers away and then returned home at randomly selected times.
Jaytee was at the window 4 percent of the time during her absence but 55 percent of the time when she was returning. We did control experiments in which Pam did not return at all, and Jaytee did not begin to spend more time at the window, wondering where she was, the way some people expected he might. We concluded that dog and owner might have had a telepathic connection. We also tested a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Kane and found similar results: in nine out of ten trials the dog spent the most time at the window when his owner was on the way back.
To test telephone telepathy, I recruited subjects who said they frequently knew who was calling before answering the phone. I asked them for the names and telephone numbers of four people they knew well. The subjects were filmed alone in a room with an ordinary telephone — no caller ID, and no cellphones or computers present.
My researchers selected one of the four possible callers at random. We called the selected person and told him or her to phone the subject within the next few minutes.
Before answering the ring, the subjects had to say to the camera who they thought was calling. Statistically, guesses should have been right only 25 percent of the time, but the average success rate was 45 percent. These results have been replicated at universities in Holland, Germany, and elsewhere. In some tests we included two familiar callers and two people the subjects had never met, whom we identified to them by name only. The success rate for unfamiliar callers was nearly the same as chance, whereas with familiar callers it was 52 percent.
This supports the idea that telepathy occurs more between people who are bonded than it does between strangers. Every science has to start from natural history, which involves describing what we perceive with our senses.
He also spoke to explorers and travelers, who gave reports from different parts of the world. That, not laboratory science, was the rich soil in which his work grew. There were very few lab experiments even in On the Origin of Species. On my website I have a number of experiments people can run in only a few minutes to test their own abilities in telephone telepathy or audio anticipation — in which you try to guess what sound you will hear next — or joint attention, which means trying to tell whether someone else is looking at the same picture you are.
There are also staring studies. The feeling of being watched is a fascinating phenomenon. In surveys, between 70 and 97 percent of adults and children report the experience of knowing they are being stared at, or of making someone turn around by looking at them.
Martial artists, security guards, private detectives, military snipers, celebrity photographers, and hunters all report this phenomenon and learn not to look too intently or for too long at their targets, because it tends to alert them. And it appears some people can cultivate this sensitivity as well. More than eighteen thousand pairs of people have taken part, and the results are statistically very significant.
Many people are even able to tell if someone is watching them from a distant location through a closed-circuit camera. More than 80 percent of people have had the experience of thinking about someone who then calls. Until then, they keep moving the goal posts. I say the skeptics are making the extraordinary claim that 80 percent of the population are mistaken about their own experience.
I ask skeptics where their extraordinary evidence is for that belief. They have none at all, except for talk about the fallibility of human judgment. Leviton: Materialists believe that the universe has no purpose, direction, or reason for existing. How do you see it? Sheldrake: In nature most things have goals and purposes. Plants grow toward the light and send seeds out. Birds build nests. The purpose of living organisms in general is survival and reproduction. Machines have no purposes of their own, only the purposes imposed upon them by humans.
Leviton: And the purposes of humans, to a materialist, are just the result of chemical and electrical activity in the brain? There are some materialists who take the view that nature is purposeless, and the only thing that matters is winning and survival.
But most materialists are secular humanists, who, although they reject the Judeo-Christian idea of God, have adopted a system of morality that resembles religious ethics: teachings such as we should be nice to other people, we should provide equal opportunity, and we should look out for the downtrodden and oppressed. They think their ethical beliefs are freely adopted. They make an exception for themselves. The whole system is self-contradictory. Finding E. Searching for extraterrestrial life is no easy feat.
Then they have to ensure that there is at least one planet that orbits this star in the habitable zone, which is a region around the star in which we might expect liquid water. Finally, they have to record the faint light that originated from the bright star and was reflected off the exoplanet after having passed through its atmosphere. This faint light, even if only a handful of photons, when compared with light from the parent star is enough to give some indication of the chemicals in the atmosphere of this planet.
Both oxygen and methane can be created independently by non-living processes, so their individual presence is of little interest. What scientists are looking for is both of them in the atmosphere of a single body. If these reactive gases are not constantly replenished by living things, they will react with each other, creating carbon dioxide and water. This has been explored by NASA scientists since at least For the flu pandemic they hypothesized that cometary dust brought the virus to Earth simultaneously at multiple locations—a view almost universally dismissed by experts on this pandemic.
Hoyle also speculated that HIV came from outer space. The Lancet subsequently published three responses to this letter, showing that the hypothesis was not evidence-based, and casting doubts on the quality of the experiments referenced by Wickramasinghe in his letter. When the discovery was announced, many immediately conjectured that these were fossils and were the first evidence of extraterrestrial life — making headlines around the world.
Public interest soon started to dwindle as most experts started to agree that these structures were not indicative of life, but could instead be formed abiotically from organic molecules.
However, in November , a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center , including David McKay, reasserted that there was "strong evidence that life may have existed on ancient Mars", after having reexamined the meteorite and finding magnetite crystals. Geologist Bruno D'Argenio and molecular biologist Giuseppe Geraci claim the bacteria were wedged inside the crystal structure of minerals, but were resurrected when a sample of the rock was placed in a culture medium.
The labs found 12 bacterial and 6 different fungal species in these samples. The fungi were Penicillium decumbens , Cladosporium cladosporioides , Alternaria sp. Out of the 12 bacterial samples, three were identified as new species and named Janibacter hoylei after Fred Hoyle , Bacillus isronensis named after ISRO and Bacillus aryabhattai named after the ancient Indian mathematician, Aryabhata. These three new species showed that they were more resistant to UV radiation than similar bacteria.
Griffin speculates that viruses evolved in comets and on other planets and moons may be pathogenic to humans, so he proposed to also look for viruses on moons and planets of the Solar System.
Despite great initial excitement, the seed was found to be that of a European Juncaceae or Rush plant that had been glued into the fragment and camouflaged using coal dust. The outer "fusion layer" was in fact glue. Whilst the perpetrator of this hoax is unknown, it is thought that they sought to influence the 19th century debate on spontaneous generation — rather than panspermia — by demonstrating the transformation of inorganic to biological matter. Until the s, life was thought to depend on its access to sunlight.
Even life in the ocean depths, where sunlight cannot reach, was believed to obtain its nourishment either from consuming organic detritus rained down from the surface waters or from eating animals that did.
This might seems like evidence for life, whereas in reality both these gases are being produced by non-living processes on two separate celestial bodies. Both oxygen and methane can be created independently by non-living processes, so their individual presence is of little interest.
When the discovery was announced, many immediately conjectured that these were fossils and were the first evidence of extraterrestrial life — making headlines around the world.