Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's foremost biologists, has revolutionized scientific thinking with his vision of living, developing universe with it's own inherent memory. In The Rebirth of Nature Sheldrake urges us to move beyond the centuries-old mechanistic view of nature, explaining in lucid terms why we can no longer regard the world as inanimate and purposeless. Through an astute critique of the dominant scientific paradigm, Sheldrake shows how recent developments in science itself have brought us to the threshold of a new synthesis in which traditional wisdom, intuitive experience, and scientific insight can be mutually enriching.
Penicillin crystallizes the way it does, not because of timeless mathematical laws, but because it ``crystallized that way before . . . following habits established through repetition,'' claims British biochemist Sheldrake. His controversial theory of ``morphic resonance'' holds that self-organizing systems--molecules, crystals, cells, organisms, societies--respond to invisible regions of influence. He ransacks ideas from Greek animism to pagan polytheism to Darwin's embrace of the concept of Mother Nature as a vast, spontaneous creative process as counterweight to classical physics, which sees the world as a cause-and-effect machine. Sheldrake believes that the mechanistic outlook, coupled with the technological conquest of nature, is killing humankind and the planet. Extending the ideas he advanced in The Presence of the Past , he boldly argues that even the laws of nature may themselves be evolving, and that God might be ``a living, evolutionary cosmos.'' This frontal asault on conventional science embodies a radical rethinking of humanity's place in the scheme of things. Photos. (Jan.)
"The Rebirth of Nature is a breakthrough book, beautifully written and spiritually oriented. It shows our intimate relationship with the universe--that we are a part of a breathing, living, thinking cosmos and that intelligence is a pervasive reality inseparably one with nature. This book will take everyone who reads it to new heights of understanding."--Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of Ageless Body, Timeless Mind
The author of A New Science of Life ( LJ 5/15/82) and The Presence of the Past ( LJ 3/1/88) rediscusses and extends concepts introduced in those titles, including the idea of ``morphic fields,'' which supposedly can account for aspects of evolution. This new work is even more unorthodox--some might say outrageous--as Sheldrake attempts to combine scientific, religious, and even mystical views. He firmly believes that nature is alive and bills his book as a rebuttal to Bill McKibben's The End of Nature ( LJ 10/1/89). However, the latter has a more solid scientific basis, while Sheldrake's ideas are on the fringe.-- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History