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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

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

If I want to use the kind of drugs that have inspired entire religions, fight depression, or follow up on the research of William James into altered states, I should not have to live in fear of the DEA crashing down my door and shouting: "GO! GO! GO!"
There are a potentially vast number of non-addictive drugs that could be used strategically in therapy. They elate and "free the tongue" to help talk therapy really work. Even "addictive" drugs can be used non-addictively, prohibitionist propaganda notwithstanding.
Check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
Even when laudanum was legal in the UK, pharmacists were serving as moral adjudicators, deciding for whom they should fill such prescriptions. That's not a pharmacist's role. We need an ABC-like set-up in which the cashier does not pry into my motives for buying a substance.
SSRIs are created based on the materialist notion that cures should be found under a microscope. That's why science is so slow in acknowledging the benefit of plant medicines. Anyone who chooses SSRIs over drugs like San Pedro cactus is simply uninformed.
This is the problem with trusting science to tell us about drugs. Science means reductive materialism, whereas psychoactive drug use is all about mind and the human being as a whole. We need pharmacologically savvy shaman to guide us, not scientists.
It is consciousness which, via perception, shapes the universe into palpable forms. Otherwise it's just a chaos of particles. The very fact that you can refer to "the sun" shows that your senses have parsed the raw data into a specific meaning. "We" make this universe.
The December Scientific American features a story called "The New Nuclear Age," about a trillion-dollar plan to add 100s of ICBM's to 5 states, which an SA editorial calls "kick me" signs. This Neanderthal plan comes from pols who think that compassion-boosting drugs are evil!
There are plenty of "prima facie" reasons for believing that we could eliminate most problems with drug and alcohol withdrawal by chemically aided sleep cures combined with using "drugs" to fight "drugs." But drug warriors don't want a fix, they WANT drug use to be a problem.
They drive to their drug tests in pickup trucks with license plates that read "Don't tread on me." Yeah, right. "Don't tread on me: Just tell me how and how much I'm allowed to think and feel in this life. And please let me know what plants I can access."
More Tweets

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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)