Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scientific heresy

You might recall this term from the trial of the ape-scientists Drs. Cornelius and Zira before an ad hoc Tribunal of the National Academy in the movie Planet of the Apes (1968).

John Greenbank includes an explanation of its operation in our time in his review in Philosophy Now of The Science Delusion, by Rupert Sheldrake.
Some decades ago, the scientific establishment – in the person of an Editor of Nature, John Maddox – pounced on Sheldrake’s first book, A New Science of Life (1981), declaring it scientific heresy. Indeed it was, for in rejecting conventional understanding it broke faith with the community of scientific thinkers. Such perceived treachery is deemed punishable behaviour: heretics are never to be treated lightly. Sheldrake was indeed duly punished by a closing of ranks, the denial of official recognition for his views, and a block on funding for further research even in orthodox fields of science.

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