bird icon for twitter image icon of quiz

Science Set Free... NOT!

How Rupert Sheldrake reckons without the drug war

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 9, 2023

upert Sheldrake is one of those authors who makes me feel ashamed of my lack of smarts. He so easily throws together philosophical observations with the history of science that I despair of ever coming close to his real-time ability to get to the point.

But for all his board-certified prowess, Rupert has one Achilles' heel that he shares with almost every other scientist and philosopher on the planet: the fact that he has been bamboozled by the war on drugs. How else could he write a book called "Science Set Free" in which he never even mentions that war?

For the fact is that science is not simply in FIGURATIVE bondage these days thanks to materialist dogma: science is LITERALLY censored today by substance prohibition, which outlaws and otherwise discourages research about precisely those substances whose use conduces to a holistic view of the world around us.

This is the big story, Rupert, the fact that science is legally censored these days in the exact same way that science was censored in Galileo's time: the government tells us which subjects can and cannot be explored. The government makes this palatable to us by convincing scientists (apparently even Rupert himself) that there are, indeed, some substances called "drugs" or "narcotics" which have no positive uses for anyone, anywhere, in any dose, at any time, for any reason, ever. But, Rupert, there are no substances of that kind. By thinking otherwise, we have outlawed neuron-growing substances that have the potential for treating Alzheimer's Disease and autism. Moreover, many of the substances that we demonize today have inspired entire religions and philosophies, as soma inspired the Vedic religion and laughing gas inspired the philosophy of William James.

In "Science Set Free," Rupert mentions "narcotics" once, but only to refer to the ability of drug-carrying suspects ("crooks") to "feel" the gaze of narcotic agents on their backs. In other words, Rupert echoes the Drug War narratives, that there are crooks out there dealing in substances that should be off limits to human beings. Thus Rupert takes the Drug War as a natural baseline, finding nothing unusual about the fact that the government should tell us which substances we're allowed to ingest and thus which mental outlooks we're allowed to access and hold.

First things first, please, Rupert: If we want to set science free, the first step is to rescind the laws that literally censor science, especially since those laws are designed to specifically outlaw the substances whose use conduces to a non-materialist understanding of the world around us.

Author's Follow-up: March 9, 2023

Rupert champions the idea of morphic resonance as being preferable in his view to intelligent design, which he associates with a god. I'm not sure that ID requires the kind of god that Rupert seems to be rejecting here. To be sure, materialists like to put ID proponents on the back foot by asking them, "Who is the designer?", but strictly speaking, the ID project says nothing about the nature of the designer, leaving that topic for discussion by various faiths, from creationism to atheism. But assuming that ID does demand a god, I'm not sure how morphic resonance solves the problem of a first cause. Morphic resonance sounds to me like an agency without an agent -- as if we could say with the materialists that "that's just the way the world is" and feel we have thereby explained something. I'm not arguing against morphic resonance here, simply suggesting that it does not give us any satisfactory answer about origins. It kind of passes the buck by speaking in the passive voice -- there are morphic resonance fields -- thereby begging the question, whence come these fields?

Back to drugs.

Rupert could have made a much stronger case for his anti-materialist thesis if he evinced a familiarity with psychoactive medicines (or "drugs," as he has apparently been taught to call them). When I consumed peyote in Arizona a few years ago, I saw a slide show of Mesoamerican imagery in my mind's eye. That's a result that materialism simply cannot account for in any credible way whatsoever. There is a sense of "something far more deeply interfused" in such an experience and that it was evoked by the consumption of a cactus suggests all sorts of holistic ontologies.

Author's Follow-up: March 27, 2023

I've seen this before, by the way. Wolfgang Smith has all sorts of fabulous insights about the true nature of reality, yet he too has been bamboozled by Drug War propaganda. He correctly senses that psychedelic medicines (in the form of mescaline in particular) can prompt states of mind that are similar to those experienced by the great saints and sages of all times in what is often called 'the perennial philosophy.' But he dismisses the psychedelic users of the '60s as hedonists, in fealty to the Drug War zeitgeist which has always sought to depict them in that very way. He scoffs at those users under the assumption that they all had corrupt motives, saying something to the effect that their psychedelic forays were more likely to attain hell than to attain heaven.

How would he know?

Answer: he has swallowed the Drug Warrior line that psychedelic drugs, for the most part, can only be used by irresponsible people, and then only for the purpose of "getting high" in the most pejorative (which is to say puritanical) acceptation of that phrase.

Author's Follow-up: June 23, 2023

But perhaps I'm being harsh. There was a lot of nihilism and irresponsibility in the youth of the '60s. But you've got to put their behavior in context. We need to juxtapose it against the alternative world system at the time, namely the status quo, which brought us insane nuclear proliferation, the McCarthy Era, and systemic racism. The shortcomings of the hippie movement are peccadilloes compared to the world-trashing ethos that the hippies were rebelling against. The world would have been a better place had the powers-that-be lightened up and used those drugs that teach one to care for each other and the planet. At any rate, if the world is destroyed by thermonuclear weapons, it won't be the ideology of "peace, love and understanding" that led to its demise.

Next essay: Night of the Addicted Americans
Previous essay: How Scientific American reckons without the drug war

More Essays Here


Live and learn. I'm told that science is completely unbiased today. I guess I'll have to go back and reassess my beliefs in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
I think there needs to be a law -- or at least an understanding -- that it's always wrong to demonize drugs in the abstract. That's anti-scientific. It begs so many questions and leaves suffering pain patients (and others) high and dry. No substance is bad in and of itself.
When we say so, we knowingly blind ourselves to all sorts of potential benefits to humankind. Morphine can provide a vivid appreciation of mother nature in properly disposed minds. That should be seen as a benefit. Instead, dogma tells us that we must hate morphine for any use.
I might as well say that no one can ever be taught to ride a horse safely. I would argue as follows: "Look at Christopher Reeves. He was a responsible and knowledgeable equestrian. But he couldn't handle horses. The fact is, NO ONE can handle horses!"
That's another problem with "following the science." Science downplays personal testimony as subjective. But psychoactive experiences are all ABOUT subjectivity. With such drugs, users are not widgets susceptible to the one-size-fits-all pills of reductionism.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."
He'd probably then say: "In fact, we'd better outlaw this substance for now until we understand its biochemical mechanisms of action. We should follow the science, after all."
This is the mentality for today's materialist researcher when it comes to "laughing gas." He does not care that it merely cheers folks up. He wants to see what is REALLY going on with the substance, using electrodes and brain scans.
I'd tell him knock yourself out, except that his expensive and purblind research is used by prohibitionists to say: See? There's no scientific proof that laughing gas helps the depressed.
This, by the way, is why we can't just "follow the science." The "acceptable risk" for psychoactive drugs can only be decided by the user, based on what they prioritize in life. Science just assumes that all users should want to live forever, self-fulfilled or not.

essays about

The Problem with Following the Science
Doctor Feel Bad
How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Drug War? What Drug War?
How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
A Quantum of Hubris

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

You have been reading an article entitled, Science Set Free... NOT!: How Rupert Sheldrake reckons without the drug war, published on March 9, 2023 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)