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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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