Two controversial authors debate the nature and methods of science, its dogmas, and its future. Rupert Sheldrake argues that science needs to free itself from materialist dogma while Michael Shermer contends that science, properly conceived, is a materialistic enterprise; for science to look beyond materialist explanations is to betray science and engage in superstition. Issues discussed include: materialism and its role in science, whether belief in God is compatible with a scientific perspective, and parapsychology.

Michael Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims

Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author, is best known for his hypothesis of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory. He worked in developmental biology at Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Clare College. He was then Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in Hyderabad, India. From 2005 to 2010 he was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge.

Earth Talk: Science and Spiritual Practices – Dr Rupert Sheldrake

In this lecture at Schumacher College, Rupert Sheldrake shows how the “scientific worldview” is moribund; the sciences are being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. But science itself is now transcending the materialist philosophy, and pointing toward a new sense of a living world. The cosmos is no longer like a machine running down; it is more like a developing organism with an inherent memory, and so is our planet, Gaia. These new paradigm shifts in the sciences shed a new light on spiritual practices like pilgrimage, ritual, prayer and meditation.

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and 10 books, including The Science Delusion. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, Principal Plant Physiologist at ICRISAT (the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) in Hyderabad, India, and from 2005-2010 the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. While in India, he spent two years living in the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths, and has given workshops on science and spirituality with Matthew Fox and Brother David Steindl-Rast. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, California, and a visiting professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. His web site is

Arguing Science and Spirituality with Michael Shermer

Miriam Knight is the host of this award-winning radio show and publisher of New Consciousness Review, a digital magazine with articles, interviews and reviews of books and films contributing to conscious awakening. Be inspired by fresh perspectives on body-mind health, science, consciousness, our place in the cosmos, and service to the greater good.