Blinded by Science by Peter J. Leithart

Blinded by Science

The Sense of Being Stared At: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind
by Rupert Sheldrake
New York: Crown, 2003
(370 pages; $25.00, hardcover)

reviewed by Peter J. Leithart

Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book is full of amusing and entertaining oddities, as Sheldrake continues his assault on reductionistic modern science. At the outset of a treatment of “para-normal” phenomena, he points out that such things as telepathy are “para-normal” only if we have already defined “normal” in terms that are compatible with modern science. If our minds are more complex and extended than modern science suggests, then there is no “para” about it—it’s just normal, though some people might have better-developed “sixth” and “seventh” senses than others, just as some people can naturally see better than others. Sheldrake thinks that these “paranormal” senses are in theory as susceptible to scientific investigation (i.e., rigorous testing) as anything, but points out that science excludes such phenomena from scientific investigation by the sheer tyranny of definition.

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Peter J. Leithart is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and the president of Trinity House Institute for Biblical, Liturgical & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama. His many books include Defending Constantine (InterVarsity), Between Babel and Beast (Cascade), and, most recently, Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor University Press). His weblog can be found at www.leithart.com. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

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