Is mechanistic medicine the only kind that really works (ch.10)

In chapter 10 of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake tackles an applied science – medicine. Mechanistic medicine, as he calls it, has a huge impact economically and socially. In many developed countries health expenditure takes a sizeable chunk of national budgets.

In his usual fashion Rupert Sheldrake covers mechanistic medicine chronologically. He observes that:

…animals and plants have been regenerating after damage , healing themselves and defending themselves against infections throughout the entire history of life on earth. All of us descended from animal and human forebears that survived and reproduced for hundreds of millions of years before the advent of doctors.

He claims that mechanistic medicine had some very impressive and beneficial early wins, such as the eradication of small pox, but the medical breakthroughs are not emerging so quickly and are much more expensive.

The corruption of science

The medical industry appears enmeshed in a web of corruption. The agency of corruption is the pursuit of profit. Rupert Sheldrake identifies now familiar ways that pharmaceutical research, publication and marketing processes are corrupt. The documentary, Marketing Madness, investigates these corruptions. It is a long video, but around 52 minutes, the safety of the drugs and research methods are investigated.

Ben Goldacre is an epidemiologist. In this TED talk, he talks about some of the trends eroding the integrity of science.

A Bahá’í perspective on health

A central Bahá’í principle is the essential harmony of Science and Religion. Bahá’u’lláh tells us to consult competent physicians, but also infers that those physicians are preferably “endued with divine understanding”.

Whatever competent physicians or surgeons prescribe for a patient should be accepted and complied with, provided that they are adorned with the ornament of justice. If they were to be endued with divine understanding, that would certainly be preferable and more desirable.[i]

The principle of moderation is central to the Bahá’í approach to healing.

In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation; if the meal be only one course this is more pleasing in the sight of God; however, according to their means, they should seek to have this single dish be of good quality.[ii]

`Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that our foods will be our medicine.

Now let us speak of material healing.  The science of medicine is still in a condition of infancy; it has not reached maturity.  But when it has reached this point, cures will be performed by things which are not repulsive to the smell and taste of man – that is to say, by aliments, fruits and vegetables which are agreeable to the taste and have an agreeable smell.  For the provoking cause of disease – that is to say, the cause of the entrance of disease into the human body – is either a physical one or is the effect of excitement of the nerves.

But the principal causes of disease are physical, for the human body is composed of numerous elements, but in the measure of an especial equilibrium.  As long as this equilibrium is maintained, man is preserved from disease; but if this essential balance, which is the pivot of the constitution, is disturbed, the constitution is disordered, and disease will supervene.[iii]

Recent personal experience has reinforced this for me. I have a “competent physician”. Recently she told me was prediabetic and should consider medication. I instantly discounted this option, so she gave me a “prescription” – reduce or eliminate white flour, pasta, cakes, biscuits etc and white rice. It has had dramatic effect and I have lost about 9 kilos and am feeling much healthier. Ironically, this prescription didn’t give me access to any subsidised medicines. Dr Joel Fuhrman describes a prescription as a subsidised “free pass” to continue with an unhealthy lifestyle.

I purchased Dr Fuhrman’s The End of Diabetes. His advice fleshes out `Abdu’l-Bahá’s advice above. He states that the supplements based on knowledge of vitamins is not the full story. Vegetables contain hundreds of phytonutrients that contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

Science can never stand still and embed the orthodox, it must keep pushing the boundaries. Such complexity of nutrition, as found naturally in vegetables could never be reproduced artificially. Why would you bother?

Here is Dr Fuhrman:


[i]  Bahá’u’lláh: Health and Healing P. 459

[ii]  Bahá’u’lláh: Health and Healing P. 459

[iii] `Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions P. 257

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Are minds confined to brains? (ch. 8 of Science Set Free)

Rupert Seldrake asks “are minds confined to brains?” in chapter eight Science Set Free. He begins with an insightful anecdote:

In his study of children’s intellectual development, the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget found that before about the age of ten or eleven, European children were like ‘primitive’ people. They did not know the mind was confined to the head; they thought it extended into the world around them. But by about the age of eleven, most had assimilated what Piaget called the ‘correct’ view: ‘Images and thoughts are situated in the head’[1].

It is sad to think that our schools indoctrinate our children in this manner in perpetuating the materialist doctrine. Rupert Sheldrake defines materialism as “the doctrine that only matter is real”. Hence minds are in brains, and mental activity is nothing but brain activity.

Brain_waves_large

Image from Medicalook

While children are learning rapidly to come to terms with this world, they also appear to be in worlds of their own. Electroencephalography (EEG) reveals that human brains waves range from 0.5 to 25 cycles per second. In young children brain waves are frequently at 4 to 7 cycles per second, theta waves – a dreamlike state in humans.  I recently met a Russian man who was raised in an atheist household, where discussing religion could lead to serious trouble, but he found himself naturally drawn to prayer. Do children, at the time of conception, or even in the womb have some spiritual experience that we are not aware of? This is a question – I can only speculatehave, but this passage from Bahá’u’lláh’s  Hidden Words might offer some clues. I would appreciate your thoughts – leave a comment.

Have ye forgotten that true and radiant morn, when in those hallowed and blessed surroundings you were all gathered in my presence beneath the shade of the tree of life, which is planted in the all-glorious paradise?… Would ye but sanctify your souls you would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you.

Is Bahá’u’lláh  talking about something we have all experienced, but forgotten.

Detecting stares

Rupert Sheldrake presents scientific studies and anecdotes about our ability to sense when someone is staring at us as an evidence of the mind beyond the brain. You have probably experienced this yourself, and you may have noticed how people react to your stares, even if they cannot see you. Rupert Sheldrake reports anecdotes of snipers whose distant victims turn around to look directly back at the gun’s telescopic sight. If the mind is truly confined to the brain, how could this be?

Perhaps those being stared at sense a field of intent. Fields are known phenomena. Magnets have a field that extends beyond their materiality. The earth’s gravitational field locks the moon into a predictable orbit. Beyond what is readily accepted by materialists, Chinese and Indian healing traditions recognise fields around the human body.

Understanding the conncetion between brain, mind and soul is critical for our understanding of what makes us human. If our thinking is more than can be explained by the electro-chemical workings of our brain, we can only profit by understanding the process.

This extract from my book Your Soul expands on the link between brain, mind and soul.


[1] Piaget, J. (1973) The child’s conception of the world. London: Granada pg 280 cited in Rupert Sheldrake’s The Science Delusion.

Memory – chapter 7 of The Science Delusion

In chapter 6 of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake produces strong arguments that support the existence of thought processes occurring beyond the brain. Memory is currently conceived as being stored in traces in the brain. But according to Rupert Sheldrake:

Attempts to locate memory traces have been unsuccessful despite more than a century of research, costing many billions of dollars.

He cites several proofs, including documented cases of people with up to 95% of their brain missing who are able to function normally and achieve academically. This has led researchers to hypothesise that the brain is holographic in nature in that a part of the brain contains aspects of the whole brain.

Resonance

If memory is not stored in traces, resonance provides a credible alternative. Rupert Sheldrake states:

The brain may be more like a television set than a hard-drive recorder. What you see on TV depends on the resonant tuning of the set to invisible fields. No one can find out today what programmes you watched by analysing the wires and transistors in your TV set for traces of yesterday’s programmes.

The invisible fields here are those of morphic resonance, described in earlier posts. Memories are stored in these fields, external to the brain. Another appropriate analogy is the “cloud” where data from computers is stored. Users are able to access their own data and data shared by others. The cloud uses both wired and wireless transmission of data.

It is interesting that our language already accommodates the concept of non-material brain activity by providing the material term “brain” and the more nebulous term “mind”.

Mirror neurons

In this chapter the author also raises the phenomena of mirror neurons. People and animals learn from each other when mirror neurons are activated. The first stage of learning is to create a new neural pathway – you can either start from scratch or access someone else’s patterns. (You might recall the scene in the Matrix where Neo learns to fly a helicopter by downloading a pilot’s neural patterns). This video from the BBC brilliantly explains the formation of neural pathways. And the following video by Jeremy Rifkin, discusses mirror neurons and empathy.

Souls

I get that Rupert Sheldrake would talk a lot more about spiritual matters, but he can only push the boundaries so far. The Baha’i Writings are replete with references about the connection with this world and the spiritual worlds that are highly compatible with Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance. For a start, the link between these worlds is very strong and intimate. According to Bahá’u’lláh:

This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.  (from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)

Bahá’u’lláh tells us that the source of creativity in this world is from the world of spirit:

The light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples. They are like unto leaven which leaveneth the world of being, and constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

This infers that our ability to progress is, in part, dependent on our ability to tune in to the fields of knowledge that are available – a vast spiritual Internet. Some of the greatest advances in sciences have come from this resonant learning. Newton’s encounter with the apple leading to his “discovery” of gravity could be one example. Einstein envisioned the theory of relativity while on a tram in Berne, Switzerland.

I find evidence of this process myself (on a less significant scale). I can go to bed with a problem and wake with a solution. As with an exercised muscle the more we are conscious of these processes and use them, the stronger they will become. Just imagine if some of the money expended on locating memory traces was spent on research that at least kept an open mind to the brain, mind, spirit link.

Is nature purposeless? (chapter six of The Science Delusion)

In chapter six of The Science Delusion, Rupert Sheldrake asks “is nature purposeless?” For Rupert Sheldrake, the materialist world-view situates us in a universe driven from the past.

The mechanistic revolution in seventeenth-century science abolished ends, purposes, goals and final causes. Everything was to be explained mechanically, by matter being pushed from the past, as in billiard ball physics, or by forces acting in the present, as in gravitation. This four hundred year old doctrine is still an article of faith.

He then goes on to illustrate examples of purpose in the plant and animal kingdoms. Gravity is cited as a force that attracts to a future state, rather than driven from the past. In this sense it works backwards from the future. Gravity and its countervailing force of dark energy maintains the universe in an ideal equilibrium.

Here is a video explaining the relationship between dark energy and gravity.

Our collective universal history has been one of ever-increasing diversity. According to Rupert Sheldrake:

One essential feature of the universe seems to be fertility, multiplicity and creativity. Yet at the moment of the big bang there was none of this diversity. Multiplicity and diversity have increased through time, and so have complexities of organisation.

Human social constructions have also increased in diversity and complexity.

Quantum leap of purpose

Rupert Sheldrake states that the “all religions assume that human consciousness plays an essential role in the world and in human destiny”. Here is where the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh have created a massive acceleration of the realisation of our purpose. Before the Bábi and Bahá’í Faiths began in 1844, the religions considered themselves to be the main custodians and arbiters of truth and all competing religions as in error, or even satanic. Bahá’u’lláh taught us that there is one God, one religion and one human family. The concept of progressive revelation links all of the religions together as a part of human social evolution. Any differences between the essential beliefs of the great religions can be attributed to the context in which they were born, human interpretation and the ossification of doctrine and the usurpation of religion for selfish purposes.

With the guidance of their divinely inspired Teachers the great religions over time guided mankind to a greater maturity, to more complex social systems and the adoption of wider loyalties. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that our purpose, in this dispensation, is the unification of mankind.

All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.[1]

Individual and social purpose

Ideally our lives are an expression of both social and individual purpose. Our social purpose is to advance civilisation. Individually our purpose is to know and love our Creator. The intersection of these two purposes set us up for a beautifully balanced life. We are destined neither to be ant-like components of some grand social order, nor monk-like aesthetics withdrawn from the world. Baha`u’llah’s Teachings impel us to live a rich purposeful life.

This quote is from The Hidden Words by Baha`u’llah. This short book, revealed while he was in exile in Baghdad offers clear guidance about our individual purpose.

O Son of Spirit!

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.[2]

When the self is stripped away, only consciousness remains.


[1] Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 214

[2] Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words no. 13

Is Matter Unconscious?

The-Science-DelusionRupert Sheldrake begins this chapter of The Science Delusion by reviewing materialist philosophies about consciousness concluding that “if all these theories sound unconvincing, that is because they are”.  He asserts that the “motives of the materialists is to support an anti-religious worldview”. At the risk of over generalising, materialist philosophies regard human consciousness as brain activity and nothing more.

After quickly debunking materialist thinking about consciousness he then goes onto explore thinking around panpschyism and other similar philosophies that propose that consciousness is embedded in all matter.

But attempting to understand non-material aspects of our world from the ground up using the tools of science and rationality appears futile. We are no nearer to any consensus or compelling theory than we were 200 years ago. Rather than relying on an incremental creep towards a better understanding – and I certainly wouldn’t anticipate any significant advances in my life time – the synergy of revelation and science is more likely to have the answers.

What is revelation?

Bahá’u’lláh tells us that God reveals knowledge to us through His Manifestations. These are the progenitors of the great religions such as Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses and Krishna. They reveal knowledge relevant to the exigencies of the time and the capacity of humanity to use the information. Thus mankind’s social evolution is accelerated through the seed of Revelation. Evidence of the potency of revelation can be seen in the civilisations it has spawned. The physical and social sciences advance when knowledge is mined from the reveal word. Unfortunately progress is halted and even reversed as greedy men usurp the potency of Revelation for their own purposes.

All the Manifestations of God came with the same purpose, and they have all sought to lead men into the paths of virtue. Yet we, their servants, still dispute among ourselves! Why is it thus? Why do we not love one another and live in unity?

It is because we have shut our eyes to the underlying principle of all religions, that God is one, that He is the Father of us all, that we are all immersed in the ocean of His mercy and sheltered and protected by His loving care.(Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 119)

Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation is the most recent and most potent (given the increasing capacity of humanity to receive it). It provides us with a completely different starting point for our understanding of consciousness. The world is animated by spirit. Without the sustaining spirit of God, the world would cease to exist. Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance resonates with this concept.

The greatest power in the realm and range of human existence is spirit, – the divine breath which animates and pervades all things. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Bahá Section, p. 260)

Abdu’l-Bahá elaborates on consciousness by reinforcing the primacy of the spiritual worlds stating “Know thou that the Kingdom is the real World, and this nether place is only as its shadow stretching out.” He also states that “the reality of man is his though, not his material body”.

Soul, mind and brain

The key to understanding the mind is the soul. The soul first associates with the body at conception. At death the body, which is composed of elements, decomposes, but the soul, being non-material and indivisible endures. The relationship between the body and the soul is often expressed in the Baha’i Writings as that of the mirror and the sun. The body (the mirror) reflects the light of the soul, but the soul is not part of the body. The mind can be thought of as the interplay of soul and brain. Consciousness is of the soul. The relationship between the body and the soul is often expressed in the Baha’i Writings as that of the mirror and the sun. The body (the mirror) reflects the light of the soul, but the soul is not part of the body. The mind can be thought of as the interplay of soul and brain. Consciousness is of the soul.

This universal mind is divine; it embraces existing realities, and it receives the light of the mysteries of God. It is a conscious power, not a power of investigation and of research. The intellectual power of the world of nature is a power of investigation, and by its researches it discovers the realities of beings and the properties of existences; but the heavenly intellectual power, which is beyond nature, embraces things and is cognizant of things, knows them, understands them, is aware of mysteries, realities and divine significations, and is the discoverer of the concealed verities of the Kingdom. This divine intellectual power is the special attribute of the Holy Manifestations and the Dawning-places of prophethood; a ray of this light falls upon the mirrors of the hearts of the righteous, and a portion and a share of this power comes to them through the Holy Manifestations.[i]

Rupert Sheldrake concludes the chapter by painting the stark contrast between the human experience as a result of interplay between the physical and chemical mechanisms of the brain, and the external environment – the materialist position, or amore engaged interaction between the choices of our conscious mind with the wider world. I know which I prefer.  How about you?


[i] `Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 217

 

Uniting the world

Our mission, as Bahá’ís, is to unite the World. Bahá’u’lláh states:

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh , p. 285)

The unity of mankind is the culmination of human social evolution. Over time we have adopted wider and wider loyalties. In earlier days our loyalty was only to the tribe or village. There was always an enemy just over the hill. The exponential technological advances since the Báb declared the opening of a new age in 1844, enable us to connect with people all over the globe, either in person, through transportation technology or through communication technologies. We have come to learn that we are all the same; We are one big human family.

Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship.

(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14)

The technology of space travel and photography has helped us to see our future in a world without borders – the one homeland for the human race.

Our Fragile Oasis – with the music of Peter Gabriel

Bahá’u’lláh has provided us with the superstructure of a new world order. To a degree not possible in previous dispensations (religions), He has provided the Laws and institutional framework required for a global society. Here, Shoghi Effendi writes about mankind’s destiny based on the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá.

…”The whole earth,” He, moreover, has stated, “is now in a state of pregnancy. The day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings.” “All nations and kindreds,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá likewise has written, “…will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race, and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself.”

(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 116)

 Our role  

Another radical change from the days when we were never ultimately safe from the threat of outsiders is our level of maturity. We now have the spiritual and intellectual independence not to have to rely on figureheads. In a united world, we may still have queens, kings and presidents, but leadership comes from the guidance provided by Bahá’u’lláh. We are quickly gaining the capacity to look after ourselves.

The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.’

(Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 36)

The guidance and institutions he has outlined for us constitute the DNA of a world order. Everything is there waiting for us to enact it enabling it to grow organically in the context of the times. It is neither over-prescriptive nor lacking the necessary detail.

Our role is to express His guidance in our own lives. If we learn to embody His teachings in our lives, we can not help but attract others to us. Thus the new civilisation will grow from individuals, families and neighbourhoods.

The attributes of God are the virtues of humanity. We were made to reflect those attributes – to polish the mirrors of our character so that we can reflect God to others. We were created in His image, in the image of his attributes. Our progress towards a peaceful world will depend on our ability to manifest attributes such as love and unity in our dealings with others.

 

Rupert Sheldrake’s 10 questions – 3, Are the laws of nature fixed?

sheldrake-bookIn this chapter, from Science Set Free Rupert Sheldrake asserts that nature has evolving habits rather than fixed laws. As with his earlier chapters he traces the origins and development of scientific thinking about the laws of nature. The ancient Greeks believed the world was ordered by divine intelligence. This concept morphed over time to the widely held materialist-science concept that laws of nature are inherent in nature and govern phenomena.

He asks, “if everything else evolves, why don’t the laws of nature evolve along with nature?” As with other doctrines of science the concept that nature has laws is deeply embedded in scientific thinking. Rupert Sheldrake points out that these constant laws of nature aren’t necessarily constant. For example, the Universal Gravitational Constant has varied between 6.6659 and 6.734 between 1973 and 2010. Of course these discrepancies are conveniently explained away as errors of measurement.

Morphic resonance

This is the first chapter where Rupert Sheldrake elaborates on his morphic resonance theory.

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.

For example, if a mineral crystal adapts a new crystalline form, that new form can quickly be replicated in other similar crystals, regardless of proximity. The morphic field somehow guides the growth, movement and development of the entity or the social entity. I am writing this post on holiday at Glinks Gully on the West Coast of Northland, New Zealand and I see examples of morphic resonance in action. The toheroa is a large bivalve mollusc that lives in the sand in the intertidal zone. On rare occasions I have seen thousands of toheroa rise out of the sand as one and move up, or down the beach carried by a wave. Their timing is immaculate and synchronised. The existence of some superordinate force helps to explain the precision of this phenomenon. It is similar to the movement of birds in a flock.

`Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that everything in the natural world is animated by spirit. The mineral kingdom is animated by the forces of unity – the cohesion that binds everything together. The plant kingdom picks up on the animating force of growth and the animal kingdom on the powers of the senses. Each responds to spirit in the manner that a radio can pick up radio waves. Indigenous peoples have similar beliefs. In the Maori culture everything is animated by wairua (spirit). Everything is alive-there is no boundary between the living and the non-living.

As to the existence of spirit in the mineral: it is indubitable that minerals are endowed with a spirit and life according to the requirements of that stage. This unknown secret, too, hath become known unto the materialists who now maintain that all beings are endowed with life, even as He saith in the Qur’án, ‘All things are living’. (from `Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablet to Dr. August Forel).

In an earlier blog, I referred to William Hatcher’s assertion that religion is “top down” (it paints the big picture) and science is “bottom up” (it fills in the details). In searching for the driving force of morphic resonance, Rupert Sheldrake would benefit from exploring `Abdu’l-Bahá’s thinking.

Habits and creativity

Rupert Sheldrake pairs creativity with habits as the driving forces of evolution. Creativity is essential:

…through creativity, new patterns of organisation arise; those that survive and are repeated become increasingly habitual. Some new patterns are favoured by natural selection and some are not.

From a Bahá’í perspective, the universe is a reflection of God’s attributes. According to Bahá’u’lláh:

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Creativity is one of those attributes, manifested by the Creator. Of all created things, people most clearly reflect the attribute of creativity.

Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God is endowed with such potency as can instill new life into every human frame, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth. All the wondrous works ye behold in this world have been manifested through the operation of His supreme and most exalted Will, His wondrous and inflexible Purpose. Through the mere revelation of the word “Fashioner,” issuing forth from His lips and proclaiming His attribute to mankind, such power is released as can generate, through successive ages, all the manifold arts which the hands of man can produce. This, verily, is a certain truth. No sooner is this resplendent word uttered, than its animating energies, stirring within all created things, give birth to the means and instruments whereby such arts can be produced and perfected. All the wondrous achievements ye now witness are the direct consequences of the Revelation of this Name. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 140)

Are habits and laws compatible?

`Abdu’l-Bahá states clearly that the laws of nature are fixed, so is there a conflict between the concepts of laws and habits?

Man transcends nature, while the mineral, vegetable and animal are helplessly subject to it. This can be done only through the power of the spirit, because the spirit is the reality. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 241)

`Abdu’l-Bahá states clearly that plants and animals can not deviate from the laws of nature, but people can, inferring some force beyond nature at play. When materialist scientists are forced, by their denial of a Creator, to theorise a world without spirit, they are handicapping their ability to fully understand the workings of the universe.  Thank God for scientists of the calibre and breadth of vision of Rupert Sheldrake.

Footnote:

Tom Price recently gave a talk on the relationship between science and religion entitled Transformation of the World.