Rupert Sheldrake: According to materialists, materialism spreads not by reason but by infection.

#1
By their own account, materialists cannot have adopted their materialist belief system by rational choice—their brains make them believe it. And they cannot persuade others to believe it by science and reason—they can only pass on an infection.
Over the course of the twentieth century, the atmosphere within biology became increasingly intolerant,
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Now, the vast majority of scientists rely on salaries and are far more aware of peer-group pressure. In fact, the peer-review system for jobs, grant applications, and publication of papers in journals means that peer pressure dominates their lives.
http://www.thebestschools.org/features/rupert-sheldrake-interview/

From a very early age I was interested in plants and animals. My father was an amateur naturalist, microscopist, and pharmacist and he encouraged this interest. My mother put up with it. I kept lots of animals at home.
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Then I went to Cambridge where I studied biology and biochemistry.
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There seemed to be very little connection between the direct experience of animals and plants and the way I was learning about them, manipulating them, dissecting them into smaller and smaller bits, getting down to the molecular level, and seeing them as evolving by blind chance and the blind forces of natural selection.

I felt more and more that there was something wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
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During the course of my scientific education at school, and then at Cambridge, I quickly realized that several of my science teachers were atheists, and that they regarded atheism as the normal position to have if you’re a scientist. It was just part of the standard scientific worldview; at least in Britain, science and atheism went together. I wanted to be a scientist, so it was part of a package deal, which I simply accepted.
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in 1974 I had a chance to go and work in India as Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad.
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I was thrilled by the idea of immersing myself in this exotic and fascinating culture. While I was in India, I visited temples and ashrams and I attended discourses by gurus and holy men.
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Then, an original idea crossed my mind: What about the Christian tradition? I hadn’t given it a thought. I spoke to a Hindu guru, and he said, “All paths lead to God. You come from a Christian family so you should follow a Christian path.”
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After a while I was confirmed, at the age of 34, by an Indian bishop in the Church of South India
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I then discovered a wonderful teacher, Father Bede Griffiths, who had a Christian ashram in South India.
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So, since then it’s been my practice to go to church on Sundays whenever I can. I see the creeds first and foremost as statements of belief in God’s threefold nature. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity makes great sense to me.
No doubt I differ from some people in my interpretation of the details.
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Over the course of the twentieth century, the atmosphere within biology became increasingly intolerant,
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In the nineteenth century, many of the most creative scientists were not professionals. For example, Charles Darwin was an amateur naturalist living on a private income, with no academic post or government grant. He was much freer as a result.
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Now, the vast majority of scientists rely on salaries and are far more aware of peer-group pressure. In fact, the peer-review system for jobs, grant applications, and publication of papers in journals means that peer pressure dominates their lives.
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For example, in his book Breaking the Spell (Viking, 2006), the atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett argues that religious beliefs are like viruses of the brain. He proposes that religions involve units of cultural inheritance—for which he uses Richard Dawkins’s word “meme.” According to him, religions are “meme-complexes” that leap from brain to brain.

It does not seem to occur to Grayling that his own worldview is a meme-complex and that his own brain is heavily infected. If he were consistent, he would have to admit that this atheist meme-complex is manipulating his behavior, so that it might spread from his brain to other people’s brains.

But materialists cannot possibly be consistent. They believe that minds are nothing but the activity of brains and the activity of brains can ultimately be completely explained in terms of physical and chemical causation, together with blind chance. In other words, free will is an illusion.

This must mean that the materialist belief-system is self-refuting. If a materialist were consistent, he or she would have to believe that his or her own beliefs were caused by brain activity alone. Materialists’ brains make them believe in materialism. But, then, how can they try to persuade others to adopt this belief on the basis of science, reason, and evidence, if no one has free choice?

By their own account, materialists cannot have adopted their materialist belief system by rational choice—their brains make them believe it. And they cannot persuade others to believe it by science and reason—they can only pass on an infection.
 
#2
Thanks for the link.

a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, which gave me tremendous freedom, for which I’m very grateful.

For seven years I lived in seventeenth-century rooms in a beautiful courtyard. I had all my meals provided. All I had to do was wait for a bell to ring and I just walked across the courtyard, put on my academic gown, and at “high table” I was served delicious meals, with vintage wine from the well-stocked college cellars. After dinner we drank port in a paneled common room, called a “combination room,” and talked for hours. Since the fellows of the colleges are from all different subjects, I had many valuable opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion.
That sounds amazing. Almost as good as Hogwarts
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#3
"This must mean that the materialist belief-system is self-refuting. If a materialist were consistent, he or she would have to believe that his or her own beliefs were caused by brain activity alone. Materialists’ brains make them believe in materialism. But, then, how can they try to persuade others to adopt this belief on the basis of science, reason, and evidence, if no one has free choice?"

This doesn't make any sense. Persuasion is one of many possible processes that might change minds.

~~ Paul
 
#4
From the interview:

... in Europe more so than in the United States—scientific materialism was taken to support an atheist worldview, and the motives for a mass adoption of this worldview were partly political. In nineteenth-century Europe, in Catholic countries the Roman Church was often allied with reactionary political regimes, and people who sought to overthrow the established order also wanted to overthrow the influence of the Church. Scientific materialism provided a very effective way of doing this. If scientific materialism can explain the world without the need for God, then it justified atheism, and atheism justified a complete rejection of the power of the churches as without any foundation other than dogma and illusion.​
 
#5
What is sad is the either/or false dichotomy that has been set up by the neo-materialists today. They act as if no scientists of any stature ever possessed any kind of spiritual beliefs. And they have turned Carl Sagan into some kind of materialistic Pope. James Randi for some time was some kind of God figure whom they idolized at Skeptic conventions. Not so much anymore, as even they began to realize Randi was far from being a deity.

There is room for both spirituality and science. The two need not be perceived or propagandized as being in direct conflict with one another.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#6
What is sad is the either/or false dichotomy that has been set up by the neo-materialists today. They act as if no scientists of any stature ever possessed any kind of spiritual beliefs. And they have turned Carl Sagan into some kind of materialistic Pope. James Randi for some time was some kind of God figure whom they idolized at Skeptic conventions. Not so much anymore, as even they began to realize Randi was far from being a deity.

There is room for both spirituality and science. The two need not be perceived or propagandized as being in direct conflict with one another.

My Best,
Bertha
Right. As the quote in the OP shows, there is a conflict between materialism and science. But science and theology are totally compatible. Materialism, besides undermining rationality, undermines science itself via the multiverse theory because the multiverse theory is unfalsifiable and reduces explanation of anything to chance which undermines the foundation of science that natural laws behave with regularity. A third way materialism undermines science is that it makes a priori metaphysical assumptions about naturalism that artificially limit its scope. On the other hand, theology explains why natural laws are simple and intelligible (they were designed so), and it explains the fine-tuning of the universe to support life. Theological explanations do not conflict with scientific explanations anymore than the biography of Henry Ford and mechanical engineering conflict as explanations for a Ford automobile. Promissory materialism is the "god of the gaps" theory not theology.
 
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