Re: Tipler/Sheldrake

From: Joseph Sterlynne (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 17:02:32 MDT

> Damien Broderick

> {. . .} I was startled by a quite impressive paper by Sheldrake and a
> colleague in the latest number of the Journal of Scientific Exploration.
> They closely observed a pooch for evidence that he responded to his
> owner's intention to return home from work etc some kilometres distant.

Sheldrake has recently (1999) published a book, [Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals: An Investigation], on these sorts of experiments. I'd be interested in comments if anyone has read it.

I saw Sheldrake on the PBS show [The Glorious Accident] (also transcribed as a book, apparently) which got him, Dennett, Dyson, Gould, Oliver Sacks, and Stephen Toulmin together in a room genteelly having tea and crumpets or something and arguing about various things. Sheldrake stated that the sun could be alive. He also said that he performed a vast array of experiments which showed that birds could always---regardless of circumstances in which they were placed---determine the proper direction of their home. The others offered seemingly every reasonable challenge: well, what if you put them in a sealed box and move them? No, did that; they still found their way. What if you put magnets on their heads? Nope, did that. What if you spin them around rapidly? Nope, tried that. What if you put magnets on their heads and spin them around rapidly? No, that didn't work. What if you put them in a box, put magnets on their heads, and spin them around? Nope, did that. What if you burn down, fall over, and
then sink into the swamp? Nope. It got pretty amusing.

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