Are the Laws of Nature Fixed?

By Michael Edmonds 13/05/2013 3

“Are the Laws of Nature Fixed” is the name of the third chapter in Rupert Sheldrake’s book “The Science Delusion”. His summary of this chapter is as follows:

“The ideas that the ‘laws of nature’ are fixed while the universe evolves is an assumption left over from pre-evolutionary cosmology. The laws themselves may evolve or, rather, be more like habits. Also, the ‘fundamental constants’ may be variable, and their values may not have been fixed at the instant of the Big Bang. They still seem to be varying today. There may be an inherent memory in nature. All organisms may participate in a collective memory of their kind. Crystals may crystallise the way they do because they formed that way before; the more crystals of a particular chemical arise in one place, the easier they should be to crystallise everywhere on earth, and maybe throughout the universe. Evolution may be the result of an interplay between habits and creativity. New forms and patterns of organisation appear spontaneously, and are subject to natural selection. Those that survive are more likely to appear again as new habits build up, and through repetition they become increasingly habitual.”

In this chapter Sheldrake queries whether the laws of nature and fundamental constants such as the gravity and the speed of light. He describes research that shows the the Newton’s Universal Gravitational Constant (G) varies in different reference sources and that research carried out in Russia in 2002 shows that G varies in a rhythmical fashion peaking every 23.93 hours, which correlates to a sidereal day.

He also describes how, when a new chemical entity is discovered, how difficult it can be to make them crystallise. However, once crystallisation has been achieved, future attempts to crystallise it become easier, as if subsequent batches of the chemical have “learnt ” how to crystallise from the earlier batch – that crystallisation becomes easier because of “habits” established by the earlier batches.

In this chapter Sheldrake articulates his “morphic resonance” hypothesis in some detail which purports that “similar patterns of activity resonate across time and space with subsequent patterns. This hypothesis applies to all self-organising systems, including atoms, molecules, crystals, cells, plants, animals and animal societies. All draw on a collective memory and in turn contribute to it.

The wholeness of each level of organisation (morphic units) depends on an organising field, the morphic field.

“This field is within and around the system it organises, and is a vibratory pattern of activity the interacts with electromagnetic and quantum fields in the system.”

“Morphic fields are shaped by morphic resonance from all similar past systems, and thus contain a cumulative collective memory. Morphic resonance depends in similarity, and is not attenuated by distance in space or time.”

These claims are quite extraordinary, yet the evidence presented seems lightweight and unimpressive so far. Extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary evidence if they are to challenge existing scientific views.

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