Science Set Free Podcast

Dialogues on science, belief and spirituality between Rupert and philosopher Mark Vernon

  • How to Pray (31 min)
  • We live in a secular age, it's said, although research also repeatedly suggests that people still pray. Four out of five Brits believe in the power of prayer, according to some research. Half of Americans pray every day, and nine out of ten have prayed for healing. It seems an entirely natural thing for humans to do. So what are we doing when we pray? In this Science Set Free podcast, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the ways in which we pray - invocations, petitions, praise, thanksgivings. They explore how meditation fits in with prayer as part of the training in knowing what to ask for, and how prayer can be part of the slow process of aligning oneself with realities outside oneself. Prayer is not going away. It may be a kind of skill. Learning how to pray could be immensely valuable.

  • Belief in Angels (35 min)
  • Recent studies suggest that a third of people in the UK believe in guardian angels, and nearly three quarters of Americans believe in such celestial beings. So what is angel belief a belief in? In this Science Set Free podcast, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon explore the modern sense of angelic presences by setting it alongside insights from medieval and ancient accounts of angel domains, which were extensively developed in both Christian and Islamic spiritual traditions. They ask about the ways in which angels might inhabit the physical cosmos and whether angels can be linked to modern insights about the human mind. Angels turn out to be a fascinating subject for conversation. They inspire all sorts of questions from the nature of matter to the truth of intuition.

  • Original Participation (29 min)
  • How do you experience the cosmos? Did people in the past experience such participation differently? Do mystics enjoy a type of participation that eludes most people? In this latest Science Set Free podcast, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the notion of "original participation", a phrase coined by The Inkling Owen Barfield, though also known as participation mystique and the "porous self". They ask what might be made of this form of consciousness, how people try to engage with it today in experiences of ecstasy or by reading fiction, and what can be learnt from what seems to have been a commonplace sense of life for our ancestors, though can feel like fantasy or madness in an alienated age.

  • Who Was Jesus? (28 min)
  • Jesus saves, it is often said. But what does that mean? Is it an objectionable notion, implying a bloodthirsty God? In the latest Science Set Free podcast, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon, explore ways in which the significance of Jesus has been interpreted. They ask whether the incarnation is a more important notion, how evolutionary ideas can help unpack the meaning of Christianity's central figure, and how the resurrection of Jesus can be understood. This historical figure, through the intensity of his life, has become a focus for a wide range of archetypal realities.

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The Andrus Sheldrake Dialogues

Dialogues between Episcopal Bishop of California Marc Andrus and Rupert.

  • The Healing Power of Animals (31 min)
  • Many people who keep pets have experienced their ability to comfort and heal. There is now a pet therapy movement where people take dogs and cats into hospices and children’s hospitals, and the human animal bond can help many physical and mental issues. In this dialogue Rupert and Marc discuss the many powers of animals and explore to what extent animals themselves live spiritual lives.

  • Reconnecting With Religious Roots (33 min)
  • Our ancestors’ lives from birth to death were shaped and structured by spiritual traditions but today many people are no longer connected to religious festivals or practices. This loss of religious faith in unprecedented, and in 2016 in the UK a survey showed that for the first time in history a majority of the population say they have no religion. In this dialogue Rupert and Marc discuss the possibility of reconnecting through festivals, pilgrimages and sacred places.

  • Blessings (25 min)
  • What is a blessing? Is it just wishing someone well, or is there more to it? What's going on in a blessing? August, 2016.

  • Is Christianity a victim of its own success?
  • European civilisation has been shaped in many ways by its Christian heritage. In the Middle Ages the Church started schools, universities and hospitals, and set up systems for caring for the sick and the poor. In the twentieth century, the hospice movement was started by Christians. Even the principles of democracy and human rights are rooted in the Christian doctrine that all people are equal before God. Yet these achievements are now widely seen as a triumph of secularism. What is going on?

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Other New Audios

Latest Videos

Can Science and Religion partner in a new phase of human exploration?

Science as an institution has come to resemble dogmatic religion in its adherence to outmoded or ill-founded notions, particularly regarding materialism. But perhaps a path is opening up, allowing science and religion to progress together in a complementary way.

The Extended Mind:  Experimental evidence for the effects of attention at a distance. Goldsmiths College, 2017

The standard assumption is that minds are located inside heads. But many mental phenomena, including vision, suggest that minds are far more extensive than brains.

Can Emergence Explain Reality

In this excerpt from an interview for the PBS series Closer to Truth, 2016, Rupert summarizes his take on the evolusionary nature of reality and the habits that govern their emergence and development.

Is Consciousness Fundamental?

In this excerpt from an interview for the PBS series Closer to Truth, 2016, Rupert reflects on panpsychisim versus materialism, what consciousness does and the variety of ways it is apparent within nature.

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Science Set Free /
The Science Delusion

Scientific and Medical Network
Book of the Year Award Winner

Arguing Science: A Dialogue on the Future of Science and Spirit

Rupert and renowned skeptic Michael Shermer discuss science & meterialism.

All Books by Rupert Sheldrake

A New Science of Life /
Morphic Resonance

"Books of this importance and elegance come along rarely." — Larry Dossey, MD

Latest Article

Sacred Song, and Where to Find it

From Resurgence & Ecologist, Jan/Feb 2016, page 56

I was an atheist when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge and for several years afterwards, yet I still went to choral evensong because I found it so inspiring and uplifting. Whatever your religious faith, or lack of it, no one is going to question you about your beliefs or your motives when you attend.

Latest Scientific Papers

Linking Minds Through Joint Attention: A Preliminary Investigation

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (2015) 79 No. 4: 193-200
by Rupert Sheldrake
Full Text — PDF

This study investigated whether people could tell when another person was looking directly at the same object. Participants worked in pairs. They were separated by a wall in such a way that they could not see each other, but both could see a target object such as an apple. Tests consisted of 20 trials, each lasting about 10 seconds. One of the participants (the ‘looker’) either looked at the object or did not look, in a random sequence, and the other participant (the ‘guesser’) had to guess whether or not the other person was looking at the object. Altogether there were 310 tests with 6,200 trials. The total number of hits was 3,255 (52.5%), significantly above the chance level of 50% (p = 0.00003).

Is Joint Attention Detectable at a Distance? Three Automated, Internet-Based Tests

Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (2016) 12 No.1: 34-41
by Rupert Sheldrake and Ashweeni Beeharee
Full Text — HTML / PDF

Joint attention is the shared focus of two or more individuals on the same object. The aim of this study was to find out whether people could feel when another person was looking at the same picture, and in some cases hearing the same music, at the same time, even when the participants were miles apart. Hit rates were significantly above chance.

Featured Trialogue — Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna and Rupert Sheldrake

Morphogenetic Family Fields

A private trialogue from June 1998. Not included in a book. Do morphic fields underlie the telepathic bonds within animal and human family groups? Morphic fields between pets and owners. Morphic fields with human families. Rupert's interest in Hellinger's family field therapy. Are family field dynamics influenced by a kind of memory? Do family ancestors influence the family field memory? Healing the imbalances within family field dynamics. The therapeutic effect of consciously acknowledging unrecognised ancestors and missing family members. The need for further investigation of family fields. Mathematical models for human family fields and social group dynamics. Anthropological data on the role of the ancestors. Comparing human and bird family field models.

Participate in Rupert's Experiments

Three experiments for testing your intuitive connections to others.

Staring Experiment

Can you tell when someone is looking at you? Find out experimentally.

Telephone Telepathy Test

Can you tell who's calling? Get a couple friends and find out in under 10 minutes.

Joint Attention Test

Can you tell when someone is looking at the same photo?

Paid Internships for Students (UK)
Research with pets.

PSI Encyclopedia logo

Psi Encyclopedia   A new alternative to Wikipedia on the subject of psi research, produced by the Society for Psychical Research.

Arguing Science: A Dialogue on the Future of Science and Spirit Last year Rupert took part in a three-part debate with Michael Shermer, the editor of the American Skeptic magazine and author of the monthly Skeptic column in Scientific American.   Going beyond the dogmas dominating mainstream science.

Skeptical About Skeptics   Countering dogmatic attacks from self-styled skeptics.

Upcoming Appearances

UK Keynote address: The Extended Mind: Experimental Evidence for the Effects of Attention and Intention at a Distance

October 28, Saturday, Regent’s University, London NW1 4NS, 9.30 am
Part of Beyond The Brian Conference
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UK Talk: Science and Spiritual Practices

October 30, Monday, St James Church, Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL, 7.00-8.30 pm
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UK Talks on the sense of direction, telepathy and premonitions in animals

November 4, Saturday, Society for Psychical Research, London W14 0RL, 10.20 am- 5.30 pm
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