Maverick Scientists and a Spiritual Worldview

Maverick Scientists and a Spiritual Worldview January 27, 2023

Maverick Scientists and a Spiritual Worldview

Recently here I recommended that my readers listen to an episode of “Science Friday” featuring a physicist who openly called himself (several times) a “materialist” and said that all that exists are things made up of atoms and molecules. I objected that this is metaphysics, not science as such. The two get confused often. I also recommended that my readers watch a Youtube video by scientist Rupert Sheldrake about “morphic resonance” that contradicted certain “dogmas of modern science” and especially naturalism and materialism that reduce the mind to the brain.

Okay, that reminder is over now. My response to many responses is that many who did respond clearly did NOT listen to the interview or watch the Youtube video, so they ended up arguing against straw men. My plea to everyone is not to respond to one of my blog posts without reading THE WHOLE POST and without watching and/or listening to the recommended material on which the post is based.

Okay, that request of everyone is over now.

Rupert Sheldrake’s philosophy of “morphic resonance” interested me although I never said I agree with all of it. I think he may be “on to something.” Some of my own experiences seemed better explained by some of that than by materialism or strict naturalism.

But studying Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance reminded me of Fritjof Capra, a physicist who wrote many popular books about a “new paradigm” of science back in the 1970s through the 1990s. I put their two pictures above and I am surprised by how much they resemble each other.

Their thoughts about reality also resemble each other. (Note: I am NOT saying they are identical!) Both, as scientists, believe much of modern Western science is too bound to materialism and naturalism. Both believe in some kind of spiritual-like phenomenon that cannot be explained by standard modern science. Both found/find some ideas of Eastern and Asian spiritualities and philosophies helpful. Both have been identified especially by critics as pseudo-scientists (although both have Ph.D degrees in science) and as “New Age” thinkers, although neither one ever dabbled in crystals or taught reincarnation or worshiped nature.

I am far from embracing all of Capra’s ideas or Sheldrake’s ideas. However, that they, as scientists, believe in something “more” than matter (Capra believed matter is a form of energy) interests me and encourages me. I am not against science, but I want science to restrict itself from teaching naturalistic metaphysics (“nothing buttery”) and leave that to philosophers and not interfere with spirituality and theology except when they undeniably contradict something that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt intersubjectively.

Obviously, as an evangelical Christian (there are those who would argue that I am not one but I have all the credentials), I believe, together with all real Christians, that there exists a spiritual reality that science cannot study because it is unpredictable. The “fathers” of modern science also believe it. Sir Isaac Newton spent much of his adult life studying the Bible and, while he may not have been perfectly orthodoxy in his beliefs (some say he did not believe in the Trinity), he did not allow his discoveries in physics to undermine his belief in God and a spiritual reality.

Some of you have responded that Sheldrake’s “dogmas of science” cannot be real dogmas of science because you know of Christians who are scientists. Of course. I know them, too. I have worked alongside them for forty years! But I have heard from many of them how difficult it is for them to function as scientists in many science professional societies that view believers in a non-material, spiritual world as still caught in superstition.

*Note: If you choose to comment, make sure your comment is relatively brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative) and devoid of pictures and links. Know that this is a safe place for evangelical Christians of all denominations to discuss theology and related topics (which includes almost everything!) and it is not a place for non-Christians or non-evangelical Christians to promote their own alternative worldviews or theologies.

"My great-grandparents and grandparents (in their younger years and my grandfather to the day he ..."

Denomination of the Week: Church of ..."
"I don’t believe Reid, the main philosophy, responding to Hume, invented the idea of common ..."

Whatever Happened to Common Sense?
"Jesus was unjustly crucified but I don't believe anyone "murdered" Jesus. He said, "I give ..."

Thank God for Womanist Theology, But…

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad