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The dominant explanations for the origins of language are inadequate for the very reason that they are essentially utilitarian and materialistic. It would be better to assume what language itself tells us. It is innately meaningful because its poetry enables us to perceive deeper structures of reality.

Do words "emerge from the cosmos, expressing its soul" or is language merely a utilitarian evolution from the grunts and hoots of our primate forebears? In The say of the land   Dr Mark Vernon argues for the Romantic theory of the origin of language, with support from Tolkien's fellow Inkling Owen Barfield, poet Simon Armitage and English palaeobiologist Simon Conway Morris.

In a world flooded with biased science, fake news, social engineering, predatory marketing, manipulative facebook memes and the like, our ability to make sense of things is increasingly overwhelmed. Words do as much harm as good, in the search for truth. If, however, words have soul as the article suggests, perhaps a closer alignment between our material perceptions of reality and their implicit meanings will help us find the signal of truth within the fog of lies and manipulations.

Dr Mark Vernon is a practicing psychotherapist with a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and other degrees in physics and in theology. A former Anglican priest, his latest book is A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling and the Evolution of Consciousness. He writes for radio, newspapers and magazines and is co-host of the long-running podcast the Sheldrake – Vernon Dialogues.

The say of the land Mark's Website

If you've published a breakthrough in the field of biomedicine sometime in the last 9 years, you could win a whopping €300,000 from the BIAL Foundation. In addition to their regular grants for research, every two years the foundation selects one lucky team of scientists for this special recognition. For details go to Bial.com.

The Award will focus on one work published from 1 January 2010 onward that can be identified as representing a breakthrough. The Award is presented for the first time in 2019 and proposals must be submitted by 30 June 2019.

Only works nominated by the Voting members of the Jury, the members of the Scientific Board of the BIAL Foundation, previous BIAL award winners and Scientific Societies may be considered candidates for this Award.

Since 1994 the BIAL Foundation has supported 694 projects involving some 1500 researchers from 25 countries, resulting in the publication of 1260 articles and abstracts in indexed journals. The current repository of scientific activity supported by the BIAL Foundation is fully searchable through their database of project documents.

Find Out More on Bial.com Proposal Form and Regulations

The Templeton World Charity Foundation - which is separate from the regular Templeton Foundation - has a truly ambitious consciousness project. They've created a complex, six stage procedure for grant development, and don't accept unsolicited proposals (outside open calls for their target initiatives). Experiments involving psi would certainly be relevant to their intention to investigate, and decide between, rival theories of consciousness. Having significantly funded nearly 100 projects with large universities, small colleges, nonprofits and private companies, they have a real chance of moving the whole field forwards.

We aim to provide scientific breakthroughs and practical tools relating to the search for meaning, purpose, and truth.

Using a variety of funding, networking and outreach mechanisms, we will support targeted scientific experiments to investigate different theories of consciousness.

Templeton World Charity Foundation FAQ Projects

PSI Encyclopedia logo

The fledgling Psi Encyclopedia, edited by Robert McLuhan, is quick becoming the must-have alternative to the skewed and backwards notions so often encountered on Wikipedia. Created by the Society for Psychical Research in London, largely thanks to the generosity of the late Nigel Buckmaster, the site already covers many relevant subjects with articles crafted by top scientists in parapsychology, university professors, and professional authors.

As more of the shenanigans at play on Wikipedia have come to light, many in our community have keenly felt the need for a more rational and honest treatment of the subjects we care about. Whether it's whole topics like telepathy or near death experience, or researchers like Dean Radin or Rupert Sheldrake, pages on the popular wiki are routinely befouled with dismissive, denigrating language, misleading half-truths and outright falsehoods – on purpose and with malice – by determined and organized skeptics, some of whom have openly proclaimed their aims to control the narrative. With Google practically shoving Wikipedia in our faces, one can only guess the extent to which such articles have damaged public perception.

That is why, out of the gate, Psi Encyclopedia is a welcome endeavor. As more articles are added, and more people find the site, we can hope that Google's algorithm will shift, even if only a little, to reveal this invaluable resource to the world at large. Against the wicked Goliath such hopes may seem naive, but who knows, with courage and skill this David may yet prevail. With 300 articles, 50 expert authors and over a million words, the sling is definitely loaded. Anyone who cares about opening science to the joys of psi are encouraged to hit those pages hard and spread the news.

About Topics Contributors

AAPS logo

Open Sciences was created due to the response of the “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science” published in the journal Explore in 2014 1 . The second manifestation of that response, as chronicled in the 2018, March/April Explore article 2 is the newly established Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences. The AAPS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit membership and education organization whose mission is to promote open minded, rigorous and evidence-based enquiry into postmaterialist consciousness research.

As President of the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences, and with the enthusiastic support of our Board of Directors, I would like to invite you to become a member of our newly founded organization, the AAPS. Our vision is to inspire scientists to investigate mind and consciousness as core elements of reality.

In Expanding Reality we discover the new science of consciousness and the emergence of a postmaterialist paradigm. This paradigm is leading us to the next great scientific revolution. Visionary scientists from a variety of fields (physics, neuroscience, biology, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, psi research) gathered in Tucson, Arizona, to create the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences. Their interviews play a central role within the film.

But this is no ordinary documentary film. Indeed, the combination of conversations, colors and music produces a very uplifting experience. The fact that nature is watching us, instead of us watching nature, also contributes to create such an experience. By the end we feel an expansion of consciousness, our perception of life, and our sense of reality. We also realize that we are connected with the Universe as a whole.

CAST

Dr. Gary Schwartz, Ph.D. Research psychologist, University of Arizona
Dr. Mario Beauregard, Ph.D. Neuroscientist, University of Arizona
Dr. Dean Radin, Ph.D. Psi researcher, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Dr. Lisa Miller, Ph.D. Research psychologist, Columbia University
Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D. Neuropsychiatrist
Dr. Menas Kafatos, Ph.D Physicist, Chapman University
Stephan A. Schwartz Futurist, Scientist, Author
Dr. Julia Mossbridge, Ph.D. Neuroscientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Dr. Marjorie Woollacott, Ph.D Neuroscientist, University of Oregon
Michel Pascal Director, Singer, Meditation Teacher
Gabriella Wright Actress, Humanitarian
Leigh McCloskey Artist, Author, Visual Philosopher

Watch on expandingrealitythemovie.com

Headed by philanthropist Christopher Foyle, FRIM supports innovative and controversial science in seven areas:

  • Consciousness
  • Medical Therapeutics
  • Aeronautical & Spcace Sciences
  • Energy & Environment
  • Archaeology & Ancient Civilizations
  • Historical Events
  • Life Sciences

While the institute accepts unsolicited proposals for funding, any proposal must be highly innovative and impactful. Their focus is on near term applications more than basic research, however they encourage proposals for ideas "outside your area of expertise" or simply "research you would like to see but can't do yourself".

"In order to reduce the amount of paperwork for researchers, the Foyle Research Institute of Monaco (FRIM) will be using a "Pre-Proposal" system, whereby researchers will be requested to submit a 1-3 page executive summary of the research they are proposing. Using such a system serves both the researchers and FRIM, in that researchers do not have to spend a great deal of effort developing a fully detailed proposal and risk it not being accepted for funding. And the Pre-Proposals will also enable FRIM to quickly determine if the proposal being made is one that FRIM would consider funding.

"If a Pre-Proposal is selected for further consideration for funding, then the proposer(s) will be requested to provide a full proposal in greater detail, and forms and/or guidelines for the more detailed proposal will be provided at that time."

— FRIM Proposal Guidlines

FRIM Website Proposal Guidlines Contact

Karen Jaenke, PhD
Chair, Consciousness & Transformative Studies
John F. Kennedy University

Consciousness Studies in Context

With seeds in the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Consciousness Studies is a pioneering field within academia. Still today, Consciousness Studies is a cutting edge, alternative course of study existing in only a handful of universities throughout the nation and world.

The Consciousness and Transformative Studies program at John F. Kennedy University, located in the San Francisco Bay area and established in the late 1970s as the first accredited Masters in Consciousness Studies, stands as a leader in this field.

Since 1994 the BIAL Foundation has supported 694 projects involving some 1500 researchers from 25 countries, resulting in the publication of 1260 articles and abstracts in indexed journals. The current repository of scientific activity supported by the BIAL Foundation is fully searchable through their new database of project documents. Grants for research in Psychophysiology and Parapsychology are between €5,000 and €50,000, determined by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.

Through its Grants Programme for Scientific Research, the Bial Foundation is accepting applications of research projects in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology - projects from Clinical or Experimental Models of Human Disease and Therapy shall not be accepted.

Applications should be submitted in English by the 31st of August 2018, in accordance with the applicable regulation and through the Bial Foundation Grants Management System.

Bial Foundation Application Process Grants Manegement System

In his new act The Brain Show British comedian Robert Newman targets the failings of neuroscience in assuming that brain equals mind, saying “the idea that the brain is a wet computer is a philosophical assumption, not a scientific idea”.

After volunteering for a brain-imaging experiment meant to locate the part of the brain that lights up when you're in love, Rob emerges with more questions than answers. Can brain scans read our minds? Are we our brains? If each brain has more connections than there are atoms in the universe, then how big will a map of the brain have to be?

“Maybe what we’ve discovered is the bit of the brain that lights up when we spot an elementary conceptual blunder in experimental design.”

Starting on April 15, 2016 the Institute for Venture Science (IVS) will be accepting pre-proposals for the funding of unconventional scientific investigations that challenge mainstream paradigms. Early submittal is key as they may need to limit the number of submissions; the deadline is June 25.

IVS is interested in a wide range of subjects, from gravity, magnetism, relativity and the physics of water to consciousness, NDEs and remote viewing to cancer and global warming. They hope to foster breakthroughs that will enrich the world and create solutions for otherwise intractable problems.

"The Institute for Venture Science (IVS) will fund high-risk, non-traditional scientific inquiries that may produce fundamental breakthroughs. We identify the most promising challenges to prevailing paradigms. We then simultaneously fund multiple research groups worldwide for each selected challenge."

"The IVS will fund the idea, not just the person advancing that idea. That is, it will seek out and fund multiple groups using diverse approaches to pursue the same unconventional idea. A dozen – even a half dozen - groups cannot be ignored. Challenger and orthodoxy will therefore compete on equal footing, and the better of the two approaches will soon prevail."

IVS Pre-proposal Instructions

The world of science is in the midst of unprecedented soul-searching at present. The credibility of science rests on the widespread assumption that results are replicable, and that high standards are maintained by anonymous peer review. These pillars of belief are crumbling. In September 2015, the international scientific journal Nature published a cartoon showing the temple of “Robust Science” in a state of collapse. What is going on?

Drug companies sounded an alarm several years ago. They were concerned that an increasing proportion of clinical trials was failing, and that much of their research effort was being wasted. When they looked into the reasons for their lack for success, they realized that they were basing projects on scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, on the assumption that most of the results were reliable. But when they looked more closely, they found that most of these papers, even those in top-tier academic journals, were not reproducible. In 2011, German researchers in the drug company Bayer found in an extensive survey that more than 75% of the published findings could not be validated.

The WPA (World Psychiatric Association) has just approved the Position Statement on Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatry that was proposed by the WPA Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry.

Based on surveys showing the relevance of religion/spirituality (R/S) to most of world's population and on more than 3,000 empirical studies investigating the relationship between R/S and health, it is now well established that R/S have significant implications for prevalence, diagnosis, treatment, outcomes and prevention, as well as for quality of life and wellbeing.

The statement stresses that, for a comprehensive and person-centered approach, R/S should be considered in research, training and clinical care in psychiatry. It will be published as a paper at the February 2016 issue of the WPA journal World Psychiatry.

WPA section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry

Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD
- Associate Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Brazil
- Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES) at UFJF, Brazil
- Chair of the Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association

This essay by Ashish Dalela was written in response to the call for essays by the Royal Institute of Philosophy for their yearly essay contest. For those concerned with post-materialist science, it's a worthy read.

Abstract

An assumption implicit in this question is that non-living objects probably don’t present a problem for materialism, because if that weren’t the case, we would be asking if materialism is a sound approach for all of science and not just the study of living forms. In this essay I will argue that: (1) the problem of materialism is not unique to living forms, but exists even for non-living things, and (2) the problem originates not in materialism per se but from reductionism which reduces big things (or wholes) to small things (or parts). Reduction has been practiced in all areas of science – physics, mathematics, and computing, apart from biology – and it makes all scientific theories either inconsistent or incomplete. This is a fundamental issue and cannot be overcome, unless our approach to reduction is inverted: rather than reduce big things to small things, we must now reduce the small things to big things. This new kind of reduction can be attained if both big and small were described as ideas: the big is now an abstract concept while the small is a contingent concept, and contingent concepts are produced from abstract concepts by adding information. This leads us to a view of nature in which objects are also ideas – just more detailed than the abstractions in the mind; the abstract ideas precede the detailed ideas. When the reduction is inverted, a new kind of materialism emerges which is free from its current problems. This materialism presents a new theory of inanimate matter, not just living forms.

Read Full Essay

Kathleen Noble, Ph.D.
Professor of Consciousness
School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
University of Washington-Bothell

In One Mind, a sweeping journey through the landscapes of consciousness, Larry Dossey says “I know a way out of hell.” (2013) Hell, of course, is the mess we humans have created for ourselves and for all the inhabitants of this fragile biosphere as a direct result of the limited and limiting materialist mindset that has dominated science since the 17th century. It may or may not be too late for humans to pull back from the brink, but one thing is clear: without the widespread recognition that we are nonphysical beings enjoying a physical existence that is embedded in a vast multidimensional reality we cannot hope to begin the journey back to a sane and healthy future.

Psychiatrists’ views on the mind-brain relationship (MBR) have marked clinical and research implications, but there is a lack of studies on this topic.

Objectives

To evaluate psychiatrists’ opinions on the MBR, and whether they are amenable to change or not.

Methods

We conducted a survey of psychiatrists’ views on the MBR just before and after a debate on the MBR at the Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry in 2014.

Results

Initially, from more than 600 participants, 53% endorsed the view that “the mind (your “I”) is a product of brain activity”, while 47% disagreed. Moreover, 72% contested the view that “the universe is composed only of matter”. After the debate, 30% changed from a materialist to a non-materialist view of mind, while 17% changed in the opposite way.

Discussion

Psychiatrists are interested in debates on the MBR, do not hold a monolithic view on the subject and their positions are open to reflection and change, suggesting the need for more in-depth studies and rigorous but open-minded debates on the subject.

Full text of paper

Charles Darwin was a firm believer in the inheritance of acquired characteristics. In his book The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Darwin gave many examples of the hereditary transmission of adaptations. He also published an account in Nature about dogs with an inborn fear of butchers. Their father had a violent antipathy to butchers, probably as a result of being mistreated by one, and this fear was transmitted not only to his children but also to his grandchildren.

Darwin knew nothing of genes or random mutations, which only became part of biology in the twentieth century. He put forward his own theory of heredity in the The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, entitled ‘The Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis.’ In order to understand, for example, how a dog could inherit something a parent had learned, or how a plant’s descendants could inherit its adaptations to a new environment, Darwin proposed that cells all over the body threw off microscopic ‘gemmules’ which somehow entered the egg and sperm or pollen cells, transforming them to make these characteristics hereditary.

Despite the towering intellectual and technological achievements of twentieth-century science, its spell over us has been irreversibly weakened. There are at least two important reasons for this. First, scientist and layman alike have become aware of the limits and shortcomings of scientific knowledge. Second, we realize that our perpetual hunger for spiritual understanding is real and undeniable. It can neither be defined away by subtle logic, nor be satisfied by viewing the universe as sterile, mechanistic, and accidental.[1]

— Roger S. Jones, Physics as Metaphor

The most urgent issue we humans face is how we conceive ourselves — whether as complex lumps of matter guided by the so-called blind, meaningless laws of nature, or as creatures who, although physical, are also imbued with something more: consciousness, mind, will, choice, purpose, direction, meaning and spirituality, that difficult-to-define quality that says we are connected with something that transcends our individual self and ego. Every decision we make is influenced by how we answer this great question: Who are we?

Today marks the beginning of an intriguing online dialogue between the influential biologist Rupert Sheldrake and well-known skeptic Michael Shermer, hosted by TheBestSchools.org. Remarks from each will be posted simultaneously throughout the coming three months, covering the topics of materialism in science, mental action at a distance and god and science. Opening statements on materialism in science from Rupert and Michael are now online.

Originally published in: Explore Vol. 11, Issue 1, p1–4 (PDF)

After your death you will be what you were before your birth. [1]
— Arthur Schopenhauer

Birthmarks are common, occurring in up to 80 percent of infants.[2] Many fade with time, while others persist. Parents in Western cultures often refer to them as angel kisses, stork bites, or other cute terms that are intended to diminish the concern of the affected child.

There is widespread gender bias about the origins of birthmarks. In many parts of the world, they are believed related to the thoughts and actions of the mother. They are called voglie in Italian, antojos in Spanish, and wiham in Arabic, all of which translate to "wishes," because of the assumption that birthmarks are caused by unsatisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant woman does not satisfy a sudden wish or craving for strawberries, it is said that the infant may bear a strawberry birthmark; if she desires wine and does not satisfy the wish, a port-wine stain birthmark may result; if the desire for coffee is not satisfied, cafe au lait spots my result.[3] In Dutch, birthmarks are called moedervlekken, in Danish modermaerke and in German Muttermal (mother-spots) because it was thought that an infant inherited the marks solely from the mother.[2] In Iranian folklore, it is said that a birthmark appears when the pregnant mother touches a part of her body during a solar eclipse.2 Some beliefs hinge on "maternal impressions" — birthmarks and birth defects appearing when an expectant mother sees something strange or experiences profound emotional shock or fear.[3]

The Integrative Studies Historical Archive and Repository (ISHAR) is a new initiative of the Chopra Foundation which aims to collect all cultural and scientific knowledge on integrative medicine and consciousness studies, for the purpose of research, education and academic referencing. They've already assembled over 25,000 references to relevant papers and other sources... and that number grows daily. If you're involved professionally or academically in integrative medicine or consciousness studies, you can help further this effort.

A recent article in the Observer, entitled You're powered by quantum mechanics. No, really..., by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden, explores the role that quantum field theory plays in biological systems. Erwin Schrödinger was one of the first to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1944 book What Is Life?: recent evidence is making it ever more clear that he was right to do so. As the article points out:

... as 21st-century biology probes the dynamics of ever-smaller systems - even individual atoms and molecules inside living cells - the signs of quantum mechanical behaviour in the building blocks of life are becoming increasingly apparent. Recent research indicates that some of life's most fundamental processes do indeed depend on weirdness welling up from the quantum undercurrent of reality.

In November, 2014 Al-Khalili and McFadden published a hefty tomb on the subject, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. In it, they describe a number of biological puzzles which quantum effects may solve, like the uncanny ability of migratory birds to detect magnetic fields (see related Open Question: How do animals navigate?), how plants photosynthesize, how our genes duplicate themselves with such precision, and even the hard problem of consciousness.


Watch Al-Khalili's talk at the Royal Society

Recently a call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness was published by Etzel Cardeña at Lund University in Sweden, on behalf of 100 notable scientists.

Dismissing empirical observations a priori, based solely on biases or theoretical assumptions, underlies a distrust of the ability of the scientific process to discuss and evaluate evidence on its own merits. The undersigned differ in the extent to which we are convinced that the case for psi phenomena has already been made, but not in our view of science as a non-dogmatic, open, critical but respectful process that requires thorough consideration of all evidence as well as skepticism toward both the assumptions we already hold and those that challenge them.

Like our own Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science here at OpenSciences.org, this cry from dedicated scientists for an open, taboo-free attitude is encouraging. Together with other evidence of expanding interests, this may herald a truly substantive shift in the broader scientific community towards truly open enquiery. As Dean Radin wrote in The Conscious Universe:

... when earth-shattering ideas move from Stage 1, "it's impossible," to Stage 2, "it's real, but too weak to be important," Stage 3 often follows. This is when the consequences of "it's real" begin to dawn on a new generation of scientists who did not have to struggle through the blinders of past prejudices.

Dave Pruett writes that the Manifesto for a Post-materialist Science is "well-reasoned, persuasive, and worth reading in its entirety." In his recent Huffington Post article Toward a Post-Materialistic Science the former NASA researcher and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University shares his own insights on the philosophy of science interspersed with points of historic relevance.

The proposed post-materialistic paradigm heals the Cartesian partition separating mind and matter, reunites philosophy and natural philosophy, and begins to resolve the age-old clash between science and religion. Much of the tragedy of the human condition lies in the competition for human allegiance of two rigid metaphysics: transcendental monism (spirit/psyche first) and materialistic monism (matter first), the former the metaphysic of religion and the latter that of science. "Do we really need to make this tragic choice?" pleads Ilya Prigogine, Nobel laureate in chemistry.



As long-time author of the Skeptic column in Scientific American, Michael Shermer is well-known for his hard-nosed skepticism. So it's rather remarkable that in his latest article Anomalous Events That Can Shake One's Skepticism to the Core, he reports on inexplicable happenings during his recent wedding to Jennifer Graf. Raised by her mother, Jennifer's Grandfather had been like a father to her, and upon his passing she was left his broken transistor radio. Shermer had tried to fix it, but it seemed byond repair. Naturally, Jennifer wished that her grandfather could be there to give her away and after exchanging vows, Shermer says:

[Jennifer] whispered that she wanted to say something to me alone, so we excused ourselves to the back of the house where we could hear music playing in the bedroom. We don't have a music system there, so we searched for laptops and iPhones and even opened the back door to check if the neighbors were playing music. We followed the sound to the printer on the desk, wondering--absurdly--if this combined printer/scanner/fax machine also included a radio. Nope.

At that moment Jennifer shot me a look I haven't seen since the supernatural thriller The Exorcist startled audiences. "That can't be what I think it is, can it?" she said. She opened the desk drawer and pulled out her grandfather's transistor radio, out of which a romantic love song wafted. We sat in stunned silence for minutes. "My grandfather is here with us," Jennifer said, tearfully. "I'm not alone."




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