The website of Scientific American currently has an excellent feature and interview with 'maverick biologist' Rupert Sheldrake, via science writer John Horgan. Though he considers himself a 'psi skeptic', Horgan's piece is warm and open-minded (we find out that Sheldrake does a good impression of his late friend, Terence McKenna) - very pleasant to see these 'heretical' topics discussed in such a convivial manner for a change.
The article covers many topics, but I thought Rupert's description of his theory of 'morphic resonance' was a very good summary for anybody not intimately familiar with, so have excerpted the relevant parts below. Make sure you head on over and read the entire piece though:
Morphic resonance is the influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity organized by morphic fields. It enables memories to pass across both space and time from the past. The greater the similarity, the greater the influence of morphic resonance. What this means is that all self-organizing systems, such as molecules, crystals, cells, plants, animals and animal societies, have a collective memory on which each individual draws and to which it contributes. In its most general sense this hypothesis implies that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.
...The idea of morphic resonance came to me when I was doing research at Cambridge on the development of plants. I was interested in the concept of morphogenetic, or form-shaping, fields, but realized they could not be inherited through genes. They had to be inherited in some other way. The idea of morphic resonance came as a sudden insight. This happened in 1973, but it was a radical idea, and I spent years thinking about it before I published it in my first book, A New Science of Life, in 1981.
...There is a lot of circumstantial evidence for morphic resonance. The most striking experiment involved a long series of tests on rat learning that started in Harvard in the 1920s and continued over several decades. Rats learned to escape from a water-maze and subsequent generations learned faster and faster. At the time this looked like an example of Lamarckian inheritance, which was taboo. The interesting thing is that after the rats had learned to escape more than 10 times quicker at Harvard, when rats were tested in Edinburgh, Scotland and in Melbourne, Australia they started more or less where the Harvard rats left off. In Melbourne the rats continued to improve after repeated testing, and this effect was not confined to the descendants of trained rats, suggesting a morphic resonance rather than epigenetic effect. I discuss this evidence in A New Science of Life, now in its third edition, called Morphic Resonance in the US.
...I would like there to be much more research on morphic resonance and I would like to see a lot more evidence for it. If there were, it would not necessarily refute materialism, but could expand the materialist worldview, which has become excessively dogmatic, as I show in my recent book Science Set Free (called The Science Delusion in the UK). I think something like morphic resonance is necessary to make sense of inheritance, memory, the evolutionary nature of nature, and many other phenomena. Lee Smolin, the theoretical physicist, recently put forward a similar idea, which he calls “the principle of precedence,” and perhaps his hypothesis might mesh in better with established science, since it is formulated in the context of quantum physics. The main question is whether or not the effects predicted by the hypothesis of morphic resonance – or the principle of precedence – actually happen.
P.Z. Myers and company getting frothy at the mouth in 3, 2, 1...
It's like something out of The Day After Tomorrow: The video below captures how a group of terrified beach-goers in Novosibirsk, Siberia, are trying to flee from a sudden hail storm which completely disrupted a perfect summer day of 99°F (37°C)(!).
Siberia is known the world over for its ice - but hailstorms of this intensity are rare in summer, when temperatures are similar to Mediterranean resorts.
Towels, beach mats and personal possessions were sent flying by heavy winds as the hailstones pummelled bathers and the beach.
'If we die, I love you,' a female voice is heard saying on dramatic video footage of the deluge.
блин природа вы страшно! (That's Russian for 'Damn Nature you scary!')
The wow, the woo and the WTF?
- 1,500-year-old metal claws intrigue archaeologists in Peru.
- Review of Atheists - the origin of the species.
- I was a die-hard sceptic, but then I saw a poltergeist.
- The mummified ancestors of Papua New Guinea’s Anga tribe.
- El Dorado in the Amazon: a deluded german and three dead bodies.
- Will Storr enters the world of Hollow Earth conspiracy theories.
- Does quantum maths explain human decision making?
- New theory suggests Buzz Aldrin’s UFO might have been a spy satellite.
- Wooden mallet bought for £3 at car boot turns out to be rare Egyptian artefact.
- Is this stone evidence of wizard's grave?
- Andrew May looks at Fortean trends via Google’s N-gram viewer.
- Meet the couple who could be the first humans to travel to Mars.
- Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it.
- Draft criteria for a Space Heritage List.
- Books from the Esoteric Brat Pack.
- Birds may not be dinosaurs after all.
- Author suggests Jack the Ripper was a woman Salvation Army worker.
- Biohackers are engineering yeast to make THC.
- Is this the earliest evidence of race war?
- Tadpole Shrimp: living fossil found in China.
Thanks to Kat for links
Quote of the Day:
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- News Briefs 07-07-2014 (Monday)
- Giant Salamander Sighted in Kyoto, Japan
- US$23,365 Gathered on a Potato Salad Kickstarter Campaign. Because This is the Internet
- News Briefs 08-07-2014 (Tuesday)
- Buzz Aldrin Clarifies Apollo 11 'UFO'
- 1st Official Trailer of Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings"
- News Briefs 09-07-2014 (Wednesday)
- Strange 'Glowing' Clouds Sighted Across Europe
- Synchronicity or Coincidence? Parapsychologist Dean Radin Tells a Strange Personal Tale
- News Briefs 10-07-2014 (Thursday)
- A Match made in Heaven: Graham Hancock and the Massive Megaliths of Baalbek
Have a good weekend!
The massive megaliths found at the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek always make for my all-time favourite "WTF?!" images of ancient sites. I posted the historical image above a while back here on the Grail just to share the love, but now we've perhaps got an even better one: our good friend Graham Hancock has posted an image to Facebook of him atop one of the Baalbek megaliths, taken by his wonderful photographer wife, Santha Faiia:
The visit to Baalbek is a part of Graham's research for his upcoming 'sequel' to the best-selling Fingerprints of the Gods, titled Magicians of the Gods. Be sure to like his Facebook page (you can do so by clicking the Like button in the image above) or follow him on Twitter for ongoing updates regarding his research. And of course, you can read much more about Graham and his body of work at his official website.
- Requiem for an exoplanet.
- Behold! The red rivers of Europa.
- Did NASA name their mission to asteroid 1999-RQ36 OSIRIS REx because it has a bloody pyramid on top?
- In the book "Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight" [Amazon US & UK], NBC senior space correspondent Jay Barbree offers a rare glimpse into the mind of the 1st moonwalker --and ALSO into that UFO sighting
clarifieddownplayed by his partner Buzz…
- Don't look now, but the magnetic field could flip at any moment!
- Shame exorcist Chris Ryan's take on the 'Fist-fighting Ape' theory.
- Chikungunya: The spreading virus that doesn't kill you — but makes you wish you were dead.
- But if you feel there's not enough scary virus out there, worry not: We can make more on the lab.
- You think $40k for a potato salad was sheer insanity? How about $4 BILLION for a company with NO revenue, NO assets, NO website & ONLY 1 employee?
- Nicaragua plans to compete with Panama by building its own canal. How will that change their environment… and the geopolitics in the whole continent?
- Paving the road towards a Borg-like society.
- The future according to North Korean architects is both comical & disturbing --and acrylic. VERY acrylic.
- The biggest troll of ALL time.
- Contender for Best Fortean Title of the Year: I Was Chased Away From Ivan T. Sanderson’s Former Home By Tea Party Conservatives.
- Texting from the grave? So when do the dearly departed start sending selfies?
- Red Pill of the Day: Welcome to Earth. A message to the younger generations, by my good friend Bitter Animator.
Thanks to Lon.
Quote of the Day:
"We have to stop. Brazil isn't the best and hasn't been for many years. We have to see what is ahead in the future."
~Carlos Eduardo Barata, a drunken aficionado commenting on the Mineirazo
Dean Radin is best known as a scientist who examines possible 'psi' abilities in others, working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences on experiments on topics ranging from telepathy and precognition through to the effects of consciousness on quantum experiments. But the seasoned researcher has also had his own brushes with the stranger side of reality, including the massive synchronicity he personally experienced in the year 2000 involving another psi researcher (and lead designer of the Apple Powerbook) Jon Krakower.
I'll let Dean tell the story himself:
What do you think? Evidence that our minds/reality have certain undiscovered connections, or just a massive coincidence?
Uh-oh Moscow, who ya gonna call? Photographer Alexander Lukinsky took the incredible image above of strange, ethereal clouds hovering above the Russian capital on Tuesday night. But rather than signaling the impending arrival of Gozer the Gozerian, what Lukinsky caught on his camera was a relatively rare phenomenon known as noctilucent ('night-shining') clouds.
Noctilucent clouds are still surrounded by mystery. There are no recorded observations of them prior to 1885, suggesting they are a relatively new meteorological phenomenon, and possibly linked to global warming. What we do know is that they occur at incredible altitudes: at 76–85 kilometers (46–51 miles) high, they are above the stratosphere. This height helps give them their eerie appearance: the tiny ice crystals from which they are composed are hit by the sun from underneath - giving them a silvery-blue appearance - despite the sun being below the horizon line, meaning the viewer sees these shining clouds from a position of darkness.
While they are rarely sighted, it seems that noctilucent clouds are showing themselves a bit more lately - astrophotographer Christoph Malin captured the time-lapse footage below in London last week, and many other amateur sky-watchers have captured the clouds on camera as well.
Exorcizamus te, omnis immunde spiritus!
- Pope Francis and the psychology of exorcism and possession.
- 10 movies based on terrifying real-life cases of demonic possession.
- Why the ancient Egyptians worshiped beetles that eat poop for a living.
- Mesolithic shamanistic meteorite talisman unearthed.
- What lies beneath: new discoveries about the Jericho skull.
- BBC staff told to stop inviting 'cranks' on to science programmes.
- Will Deepak Chopra have to pay $1million of his own money to atheist challengers?
- Know nothing: the true history of atheism.
- Dark days: where has all the light in the Universe gone?
- Virtual body-hack with an Oculus Rift allows you to inhabit and control another person's body.
- Government scientists stumble across forgotten vials of smallpox in an unused storage room.
- The Pentagon's $399 billion next-generation plane, the F-35, may end up being too dangerous to fly.
- Voyager 1 confirmed to be in interstellar space.
- Comic of the Day: Carl Sagan on belief in the afterlife.
Quote of the Day:
It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.
20th Century Fox has released the 1st official trailer of Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings, featuring Christian "Where Is It!" Bale as Moses, and Joel Edgerton as Ramesses.
By the looks of it, it seems 2014 shall be remembered as the year Biblical patriarchs stopped being so damned passive, raised their weapons & took a stand! —probably the reason why one chooses the Batman as the leader of Israel...
What say you Grailers? Yay or Nay?
[UPDATE]: Had to change the Youtube URL for one with less quality. Dontcha love it when Hollywood studios try to stop the kind of content that might inspire the audience to watch their movies? Oh well...