The Science Delusion: dogma in contemporary science – Rupert Sheldrake

Sheldrake questions many of science’s basic ‘truths’, which are revealed, with splendid irony, to be either assumptions or, heaven forbid, beliefs. That the Universe began with a Big Bang has been orthodoxy since the 1960s, but it is actually a theory, and one that raises as many questions as it provides answers. Sheldrake does not dispute the theory but compares it to religious creation myths, all of which begin with an initial act of creation by God; the Big Bang theory is different only in that God has been removed from the story. One of the basic tenets of physics is the law of conservation of matter and energy, which asserts that neither can be created or destroyed: the amount of matter and energy in the Universe is always the same. Except of course, in the primal singularity of the Big Bang, when the Universe appeared from nothing, violating all of science’s laws. Sheldrake quotes Terence McKenna: “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.’”

Most physicists believe that only about four per cent of the mass and energy in the Universe is conventional; the remaining 96 per cent is made up of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’, about which nothing is known. Gravitation should be slowing down the expansion of the Universe, but observations made in the mid-1990s showed that it is actually speeding up. The continued expansion of the Universe is now believed to be driven by dark energy, which is reckoned to account for 73 per cent of the Universe’s total mass-energy. In the current model, the amount of dark energy may be increasing, counteracting the gravitational pull that should make the Universe contract, driving its expansion in an apparently continuous process of creation. This should not be possible, but the conservation laws apply only to the four per cent of ‘standard’ matter and energy, not necessarily to the mysterious remaining 96 per cent. In the light of modern cosmology, asks Sheldrake, how can anyone possibly be sure that the total amount of matter and energy has always been the same? […]

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