April 11, 2013
to be posted on nobabies.net

Rupert Sheldrake

Dear Dr. Sheldrake:
Apologetic opening:
I have read your engaging book (Rupert Sheldrake Science Set Free Depak Chopra Books New York 2012) and have three remarks.  This is just for fun.  First let me say that I can respect any belief.  If a belief seems to lead to anti-social behavior it is the behavior that I deplore, and your behavior to my knowledge is above reproach.  On the other hand I have no practical use for “spectral evidence.”  That is a phrase invented by the witch court in Salem.  Some girls had been accusing people, mostly women, of witchcraft, and the court had been sending them to execution.  The only man accused was the only one not convicted; he died under torture.  At last the girls accused the wife of the governor.  Well that was a non starter.  The most powerful man in Massachusetts was not about to lose his wife and his political career.  So they had to acquit.  Their gambit was to say that spectral evidence should not be admitted in court of law.

It was almost certainly a cheat.  In genetics class at Wesleyan professor Hanson told us that every one of those women and everyone ever diagnosed with Huntington’s chorea had descended from one of two women from the same little village in Scotland.  The disease gets worse under stress.  There was obviously something wrong with these women.  But that was forgotten.  Whatever else you may say about Yankees, they are not all of them stupid.

So if you can bear with me while I take the attitude of my Presbyterian mother [the normal function of the mind develops waste which may be expressed as spooky experiences; they are to be treated as the body’s other waste is and are not to be mentioned in polite conversation] then proceed.  Of these three remarks, one is of interest and two you might actually like.

First remark:
Starting from your figure on page 50, which shows how a hierarchy of units may be arranged with similar units constituting a larger unit, itself composed of similar units, let me choose just a few levels crucial to our survival.  The planets, particularly our own and the giants just past the ice lane need to be in roughly circular orbits.  We happen to lie in the habitable zone.  The earth must maintain its structure of hot interior and temperate surface.  The continents must be neither below the seas nor so high that the continental shelves loom a mile above them.  And there must be people. 

Coming from the other direction our cells must survive and be organized into tissues, organized into organs organized into individuals.  The observation can be extended to larger and smaller scales, but these should suffice.  As far as people, we must have mates.  Who marries whom is the only level at which we have discretion.  Observing mating strategy for all but the recent urban global society throughout almost all of history and pre history people lived in small groups of hunters and gatherers or in farming villages.  So we know that mating strategy is viable.

But what we are told is, “It doesn’t make any difference.  Anybody can marry anybody.  Churn the whole thing up.  You’ll only make things better.  Science has spoken.”

Well as you point out there is no division of science and state.  And the state wants a monopoly of power.  The notion of people having significant loyalties to a subset of the state is not to be tolerated.  So the state is not very likely to subsidize work that contradicts its own grandiose ambition.  Yet there is evidence.  It appears on the weight of evidence that normal fertility depends on restricting mating pool size.  You may check out my web site:
And there is a paper: Fluctuation of fertility with number in a real insect population and a virtual population
M.L. Herbert& M.G. Lewis  African Entomology 21(1): 119–125 (2013) 
you can look at.

Evidently from your book you are not afraid to take an unpopular position, and given your biology background you are as prepared as anybody to look at the evidence. 

I recon a million women will cry themselves to sleep tonight because they can’t have a baby.  The cause, I feel quite sure, is our pathological urban style mating strategy. 

Let’s go back to spectral things again.  Imagine the psychic power of that much anguish.  Since I am their only champion, it should come to me.  Nay think of the billion who should have been born but were not.  I know.  A billion more people is not what the world needs, but these weren’t just any billion.  They should have been our brightest and best.  We needed them.  If a poltergeist can move 2.3 ounces then the combined force should be able to lift the battleship Yamato from her watery grave and suspend her in mid air, something her own mighty engines could not come near to doing.  Try it if you like, use my name, but I do not recommend it.

If there is no spectral power, you are wasting your time.  If there is such power then you do not understand it.  Look at any religion.  They all hearken back to a time when there were things that were not nice (that “all” might take a bit of hand waving to defend).  Even good old Apollo; remember what he did to Marsyas for no particular reason.  If there is any organizing principle to spectral things, it’s probably worse.  Remember Alfred Russel Wallace.  He had a better grasp on evolution and speciation than did Darwin, but Wallace became enamored of spectral phenomena, and it ruined him.  So if there is spectral power, then the opposing force must be greater than the supporting force here.  Anybody who wants to go up against that kind of firepower needs to take lessons in prudence from Kim Jong-un. 

Second remark:
You mention the possibility of causality going in reversed time.  What’s wrong with all causality moving in reversed time?  I have posted the general outline of how the universe might be running backwards in a letter to Kip Thorne.  http://nobabies.net/Open%20letter%20to%20Kip%20Thorne%20about%20black%20holes.html
To bring it closer to your own interest, think about starting with nothing and introducing one neutron, which decays in to proton and electron which then follow a chaotic course.  Time has no preferred direction so the electron and proton recross themselves many times, piling up sufficient mass in some regions to warp space and time to the point that the landscape causes all those chaotic courses.  Sometimes they rejoin to form a neutron again.  Eventually at least one zone collapses into a black hole, which from the inside looks just like ours; it’s just that causality, and time, are going in reverse. 

Fine.  Gets rid of that biblical Big Bang, but it does leave the time in our “future” when the event horizon lifts and we are back into chaos, sort of like “the sky rolled up like a scroll.”  Sorry about that. 

Anyway, there is the question of consciousness.  We all sense it but we cannot prove that it does anything.  Well we created the universe with just a neutron (and got the neutron back at exactly the time and place where it started, sort of like the foo foo bird in “The Hamburg Zoo”) so let’s assume just one consciousness.  If the vagaries of chaos are able to give us the same neutron many times, it can give us that whatever that is the observer.  Just like the mystics have said, we all have the same soul, just at different points in its career. 

An attraction of this is that it accounts for what appears to be a tendency for the universe to create orderly forms even though those forms then decay.  As the universe contracts in reversed time – order building up – things become warmer, then more complex, then more abstract and possibly more spectral.  Thus some spectral entities that existed in our historic past or were at least believed to exist may no longer be able to exist in our diluted reality, just as you point out some crystals may exist only before or after some date.  Of course that leaves open the question of whether humanities time is up and only the robots can carry on. 

I’m not serious about this whole concept.  I like to stitch ideas together even when there is no purpose.  Just see if you like it.  Maybe you can use it. 

Third remark:
I have had no formal training in astronomy or geography since childhood, so take nothing in this for granted.  If you are interested, check it out.

What I do have is a globe of the sky manufactured for the purpose of teaching Russian navigators how to identify stars.  It came with no instructions, and besides I read no Russian.  But from what I can see, a disproportionate number of useful starts lie along the plane of the ecliptic.  The zodiac is real.  Every star chart I ever saw suggested that the starts and constellations were randomly spread, but this appears not to be the case.

Orion’s belt appears to be very near the equator and near some sort of prime meridian.  That changes with the precession of the equinox, or course, but it looks like that now.  Orion is not a character we run into much when reading about the ancient world, but it is by far the most spectacular constellation.  The ancient Mesopotamians called it the “heavenly” one might say, “good shepherd.”  For the ancient Egyptians he was Osiris, god of heaven and the afterlife.  And he comes north at about the winter equinox, comes on Christmas, you might say.  Pattern?

Looking at the earth, the mouth of the Amazon is about on the equator.  If you go to thirty degrees north latitude you are the latitude that goes over more land than any other.  Thirty degrees east longitude goes through more land than any other.  They cross at the apex of the Nile delta.  At that point you are 120 degrees north of the South Pole.  Go 120 degrees east and you are around the mouth of the Mississippi.  Go 120 degrees west and you are about the middle of the great Pacific trench system.  It’s supposed to be a subduction zone, but it is not nearly as big a step off as the Himalayas.  The trench system is almost the same cupid bow shape, size and orientation as the mid Atlantic Ridge system for no reason I can grasp. 

Draw a string between the mouth of the Nile and the mouth of the Mississippi and it goes through Mecca, Medina, Saudi Mt. Sinai, Cairo with the pyramids, Alexandrian, Athens, Naples, Rome, Genoa, the south of France, Brittany, Salisbury plain, Newtown in Ulster (means the same as Naples), tops the mid Atlantic Ridge and comes down through Oak Island, Boston, New York, Washington, Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans (near Poverty Point) and Mexico City, where there are pyramids again.  Going the same way toward the east you go through Jerusalem.  The axis of this circle has one pole near the Straights of Magellan – flying Dutchman territory – and one in Madaga (they say it’s Magdalene in Arabic), the most notorious of the Russian concentration camps.   Conspicuously absent is Benares or Varanasi; go 180 degrees west any you are at the mouth of the Rio Grande. 

I have no speculation about what might be going on.  But I thought you might like it. 

They say that there will always be things that are true that science cannot prove.  I think that gets forgotten a lot.

Let me know what you think, particularly about the mating strategy idea. 


M. Linton Herbert MD

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