Instigator / Pro

Morphic fields must exist


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 1 vote and with 5 points ahead, the winner is...

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Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
Voting period
Two weeks
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Multiple criterions
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Round 1
Morphic fields have to exist, because something has to control form and instinctual behavior, The laws of physics are not enough. 

Morphic fields create a pattern that underlies form and instinctual behavior. Morphic fields are a form of energy field, such as a magnetic field. 

Evidence for morphic fields:

1. Mathematical laws and rules underlying patterns in nature, including instinctual human behavior. Some examples are Zipf's law, city growth, phyllotaxis and the golden mean.

2. Swarming behavior in animals, including murmurations of birds, shoaling in fish, swarming in insects, herding in animals (including humans)

3. Nests/colonies of ants, termites and other insects

4. Morphogenetic fields


I am suggesting these are example of INDIRECT evidence for morphic fields. 

Note: The idea of morphic fields is credited to Rupert Sheldrake. I do not believe in morphic resonance, so will not be addressing that in this debate. 
0.) Burden of proof.

If Morphic fields do not exist, it’s not necessarily possible to be able demonstrate this is the case. As such, my opponent therefore shoulders all of the burden of proof

1.) Pseudoscience.

Pro asserts that some vague “field”, that pro does not define or explain, must exist because of a list of four things pro asserts cannot be explained by the laws of physics. Pro doesn’t explain how or why only Morphic fields are an explanation for them; nor presents much than vaguely scientific terminology with no context or additional explanation.

This is clearly meets the definition of pseudoscience[1].

2.) Explanation of is not evidence for 

Even if pros assertions that aspects of biology cannot currently be explained by the laws of physics were true : that does not mean an alternative explanation is valid.

Magic, fairies, overt control by some malevolent entity through telekinesis are all alternatives. So given that there could be many potential explanations for a given phenomena: that the phenomenon exists cannot be considered evidence of any individual explanation of that phenomenon.

What does provide compelling justification for a given explanation, is its descriptive power:

3.) Not a compelling explanation.

General relativity, the original laws of gravity, and other scientific theories to explain occurrences are compelling because they are:

Descriptive: they present a detailed, causal mechanism, that can be applied or used in various scenarios to describe the behaviour that should be seen in a way that can be compared to reality.[2]

Testable: these theories present an explanation that implies other as yet unknown observations can be made: meaning that the existence - or not - can be used to establish the veracity of the claim.[3]

Falsifiable: you can’t prove a theory correct, as there is always possible reasons why other explanations could be better, as a result it must be possible to prove theories wrong.[4]

As a Morphic fields are neither predictive, testable or falsifiable - these fields are not compelling explanations of anything

5.) Pros list.

The following is a short rebuttal of pros examples.

5.1) Mathematical rules in nature

Geometry and geometric relationships are inherently mathematical, descriptions of forms of growth have a mathematical basis; it seems wholly unsurprising that behaviour, or geometric patterns in nature could be described mathematically, and could be repeated.

5.2.) Swarming behaviour.

Pro is 30 years out of date; these behaviours can be explained by simple rules given to each bird or organism based upon what its immediate neighbours are doing; and can be easily simulated using these simple rules without requiring any centralized “morphic field”[5]

5.3.) Colony behaviour 

Ant and colony behaviour can be described by very basic individual rules and the use of chemical pheromones. They are easily explainable - and we even have a class of algorithms that mimic this behaviour and can be used to solve optimization problems.[6]

5.4.) Morphogenetic fields

“Morphogenetic fields” are used to explain why some cells become arms, and some become legs. This is well understood as part of the regulation cascade of the Homoebox genes; and chemical gradients and intracellular signalling mechanisms rather than requiring any discrete or magical field.[7][8]


Pros claim is merely unsupported pseudoscience. 


Round 2
Morphic fields can be deduced from their effects.

The examples I gave were EFFECTS, obviously caused by an underlying factor.

Physical laws and pheromones are not enough.

There is no reason cities should grow the same way. There is no reason languages and growth of galaxies follow the same pattern. I am saying that the morphic fields create the underlying patterns. 

The morphic field controls both form and behavior. All morphic fields are connected. Everything works together in a system. Everything works together. This is how ecosystems are possible. This is how your body is able to hold itself together. This is how you are able to drive your car without really thinking about it. This is why people feel "phantom limbs" after an amputation. You can see the field in Kirlian photography. You can feel them in a magnetic field. They are noted in legends and mythology, as Indra's net etc. 

A single piece of evidence is not going to prove morphic fields exist. But put together, it becomes obvious. 

Scientists are so compartmentalized, no one looks at the big picture. You can't put everything in boxes. You have to look at how everything is working together. 

0.) Burden

Pro does not contest the burden - so this should be accepted by voters.

Also please note I am writing arguments on a phone which autocorrects “Morphic” to “Moronic”, if an example slips though, please be aware this is done without intent to insult.

1.) Pseudoscience

This point has been dropped  by pro. I extend.

2.) Explanation of is not evidence for

Pro drops  this argument: pro simply repeats their assertions - I extend

I will reiterate: even if science can not explain an occurrence - this does not mean that pros example is correct by default with no further evidence.

3.) Not a compelling Explanation.

This point is also dropped  by pro. I extend.

In addition, pro has now gone two rounds basing their argument on the premise that Morphic fields can explain everything from galaxy patterns, to the behaviour of ants.

However as yet pro has not actually said what this explanation actually is.

How, exactly, do morphic fields explain how galaxies form? How does it explain embryological development? Or ants?

I’m not sure: Pro doesn’t say.

Pro hasn’t even explained what morphic fields actually are, leave alone how they can explain anything that pro says it can.

As a result, the concept can clearly be rejected on lack of any meaningful evidential support by pro.

4.) Rebuttals 

4.1.) Mathematics.

Pro drops  this argument to make an argument from incredulity:

Why wouldn’t  cities grow the same way? Why wouldn’t pro expect that similar patterns of exponential growth could occur in different scenarios of exponential growth?

This is assuming pros unsupported assertion about galaxies and language is actually true.

4.2.) Swarming behaviour
4.3.) Ant behaviour 
4.4.) Cell differentiation.

Pro asserts that science can’t explain these things, and that “pheromones and rules” aren’t enough.

In the last round: I provided evidence showing that these things are  enough.

Pro should explain exactly what specific behaviour is not currently explained by science, and why the behaviour can only meaningfully be explained by morphic fields.

4.5.) “Obviously” caused by an underlying factor.

Pro asserts that Galaxy formation and city growth, ant behaviour, and bird flocking, together with embryological development all “OBVIOUSLY” have a single underlying factor causing them to be a certain way.


This is clearly nonsense. Galaxies and embryos are so insurmountably different, in constitution and scale - that the idea that their development is causally effected in a meaningful way by the same underlying process is comical. 

In no way shape or form is this share process “obvious”. Instead of asserting it so, pro should provide reasoning why they believe all these disparate effects are caused by the same underlying factors, and what evidence they have that this is the case.


Pro has not addressed any of the counter evidence or arguments provided: I extend these cross the board.

Pro is claiming that a field exists which they cannot describe and operates in a way they have not explained; can produce a wide variety of phenomena in the world without explaining how, and for which there is no evidence. The only reasons they have given to believe in this field, is that prevailing scientific explanations that they haven’t specified fall short of being able to explain these phenomena in ways they are not able to describe or explain, and thus field is the only possible explanation though pro is not able to explain why; and that it is “obvious” that things from galaxies to embryos have some unifying underlying cause, through pro won’t say for what reasons.

To say that pro has fallen short of meeting their burden of proof with such overtly vague and unsupported claims is as big an understatement as is possible to make.

Round 3
You have failed to address my point that morphic fields can be deduced by the effects.

Or that science compartmentalizes things so much that the big picture can't be seen.

You are looking bottom up, while it needs to be looked at top down. 

The ancients knew these things. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, this knowledge has been lost.

Unfortunately it will be another 13,000 years before this becomes apparent to humans again. 

Ode to Amlodhe

Pro drops all arguments.

“You have failed to address my point that morphic fields can be deduced by the effects.”
This was fully addressed in point 4.5 and point 2.

Pro offered no deduction or Morphic fields: pro simply claimed they explained the evidence, and then asserted that the effects listed were “obviously caused by an underlying factor.” This falls far short of even an attempt at any deductive reasoning, and thus can be ignored. 

Voting issues.

Pro has burden of proof to show Morphic Fields exist.

Pro has not explained what they are, how they work, and pro has not even been able to show how they can explain the effects pro claims it can.

Pros only arguments are that they obviously must exist because particular phenomena exist, but is unable to explain how; and that science cannot explain these phenomena, even they pro gives no justification as to why morphic fields are a better explanation than any other.

Pros argument has not even begun to meet their burden of proof by any stretch of the imaginations

1.) I pointed out that pros vague assertions and generalized terminology amounted to pseudo science. Pro drops this argument.

2.) I pointed out that even if science were not able to explain the phenomena, it does not automatically mean a random claim about morphic fields is true. Pro drops this argument too.

3.) I listed the criteria by which we explanations can be determines to be compelling: Descriptive, testable and falsifiable: Morphic fields have none of these so is not compelling. Pro drops this argument too.

4.) I provide evidence explaining how all of the phenomena pro claims could not be explained can be explained, or appear prima facia reasonable. Pro drops this argument and simply asserts that these explanations are “not enough”.

As pro has not met their burden of proof, and I have clearly shown that pros claims are all completely baseless, and pro has not offered any rebuttal of any meaningful kind: a vote for con is clearly warranted.