What's considered scientifically possible is largely defined by the materialist paradigm, which ignores an ever growing body of conflicting evidence. Beyond this paradigm, some researchers do expand the possible, opening us to promising horizons of discovery.

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The Galileo Commission

A project of the Scientific and Medical Network, the Commission has produced a comprehensive report on the impact of materialism on science, written by Harald Walach with input from 90 advisers in 30 universities.

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The Galileo Commission report arrives in a critical and unprecedented moment in our history, where the need for a qualitative change in science has never been so apparent and pressing.

– Dr Vasileios Basios, University of Brussels

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The Science of Consciousness Conference
Hosted by: Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, AZ

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Dr Charles T Tart

Republished with permission from the blog of Charles Tart.

Back when I was a teenager, more than 60 years ago, I became interested in psychical research and parapsychology, including the question of whether we survive physical death in some real fashion. It makes a difference in what you want to do with your life if this physical life is it and then oblivion, versus some kind of continuing existence. Was there scientific evidence indicating we might survive? Useful evidence, even if not finally absolute one way or the other? Probabilities, even if not certainties?

I was not happy with scientism, the faith-based imitation of science already so popular then, a total materialism blindly believed to explain everything. Yes, materialism as a basis had worked very well in studying material matters, but the essence of science is that observation, data, facts, experimental results always have first priority over theory, over belief. So the materialists’ arrogant, cavalier dismissal of any possibility of survival, “It’s impossible,” while not bothering to look at what evidence we had, was an insult to the scientific enterprise.

I have been interested in and investigated many aspects of the mind over my life and career, rather than specializing in any small area. So survival research has been part-time, largely a scholarly activity of mine, keeping up with and interacting with the (sadly) very few researchers who have focused on survival evidence. Recently in discussing the evidence with these more active experts, the idea was raised that it would be helpful if we knew each other more personally. This would be useful not only for the inherent values of friendliness in general, but to see what our personal qualities were that could affect the way we observed and thought about data relevant to survival research. Why did we get interested in this tiny, socially disapproved of field? What sort of conclusions have we reached? How have these understanding affected our personal lives? Some colleagues were particularly interested in why I did not make an unequivocal statement, “We survive death” or “We don’t survive death.” Some of them had made up their minds, but I keep saying that the evidence that we have for survival is good, but it’s complicated, something paranormal is happening, but I’m not sure it means we survive death.

The Matter With Things

Following the paths of cutting-edge neurology, philosophy and physics, The Matter With Things by Iain McGilchrist reveals how each leads us to a similar vision of the world, one that is both profound and beautiful – and happens to be in line with the deepest traditions of human wisdom. Acclaimed for his previous book The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, this new 2-volume book is poised to become “one of the most important books ever published” according to Professor Charles Foster of Oxford University. Louis Sass, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University calls it “a book of surpassing, even world-historical ambition.”

Coming out November 9th, 2021; those in the UK can pre-order now at a discount. In the meantime, check out the author’s discussion with Jordan Peterson below.

The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF PSYCHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY

Edited by Lisa J Miller
Oxford, 2012, 634 pp., £52, p/b – ISBN 978-0-19-935734-5

This is a landmark volume, especially given the fact that it has been published by one of the world’s leading university presses. It forms part of the Oxford Library of Psychology, a series designed to review major sub-disciplines with breadth, comprehensiveness and exemplary scholarship; it also combines a searchable online facility. Significantly, though, only two of over 60 contributors from outside the United States.

In her introduction, Lisa Miller remarks that the handbook is at the cutting edge of an expanded psychology that directly addresses the broadened set of ontological assumptions and a view that spirituality is fundamental to the human constitution. In one sense, it continues the work of William James after a long diversion by taking the human mind as part and parcel of a living spiritual reality, which leads to an expansion of psychology ‘by a Copernican magnitude’ in the direction of postmaterialism, ‘a science beyond the limitations of exclusive ontological materialism and mechanism.’ This takes consciousness as fundamental and the fabric of reality.

The Flip book cover

THE FLIP

Jeffrey J. Kripal
Bellevue Literary Press, 2019, 239 pp., $19.99, p/b – ISBN 978-1-942658-52-8

Jeffrey Kripal is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University and chairs the board of the Esalen Institute. He gave two brilliant and lucid talks at the science of consciousness meeting in Interlaken in June, and this superb book fully reflects these qualities. The flip of the title refers to epiphanies of mind that transform the outlook of the experiencer in the direction of holding consciousness rather than matter to be primary. This has immense implications for the future of knowledge, as the book explains in detail, beginning with experiences currently regarded as impossible within the scientific framework, then looking at flipped scientists and philosophers, the relationship between consciousness and cosmos, how symbols mediate meaning, and at the future politics of knowledge.

I was struck by Tom McLeish quoting Charles Darwin’s son writing about a special quality leading him to make discoveries: ‘it was the power of never letting exceptions pass unnoticed.’ In the consciousness field, for exceptions read anomalies. Nomos is order so an anomaly is something that does not fit into the currently accepted framework of assumptions. Far from never letting exceptions pass unnoticed, the scientific establishment goes out of its way to ignore and suppress findings inconsistent with its basic philosophy, exerting social and professional peer pressure in order to keep people in line.

Originally published on Boing Boing, 26 October 2020

James Randi
James Randi Sgerbic [CC BY-SA]

Several years ago I was preparing a talk on the life of occult journeyer Madame H.P. Blavatsky (1831–1891) for the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Someone on Facebook asked sardonically: "Will James Randi be there?" My interlocutor was referencing the man known worldwide as a debunker of psychical and paranormal claims. (That my online critic was outspoken about his own religious beliefs posed no apparent irony for him.)

Last week marked the death at age 92 of James "The Amazing" Randi, a stage magician who became internationally famous as a skeptic — indeed Randi rebooted the term "skepticism" as a response to the boom in psychical claims and research in the post-Woodstock era. Today, thousands of journalists, bloggers and the occasional scientist call themselves skeptics in the mold set by Randi. Over the past decade, the investigator himself was heroized in documentaries, profiles, and, now, obituaries. A Guardian columnist eulogized him as the "prince of reason."

In this interview for KOSMOS magazine, Dr Pim van Lommel shares insights from his work on near-death experiences, the findings from his renowned 2001 Dutch study, and how these findings relate to consciousness and the brain. Finally, Pim reflects that after 30 years of investigation into near-death experiences, not only has his own perspective on life changed, but his views on science have evolved too.

The future of science is that we need to change the definition of science because nowadays there is no subjective experience included so the first person recount is just called an anecdote. The essence of who we are is what we feel and what we think, and we cannot prove or objectify or measure or reproduce or falsify the content of our consciousness.
- Dr Pim van Lommel

Bernard Carr, PhD, is emeritus professor of mathematics and astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He is coauthor of the book Quantum Black Holes and he is also editor of the anthology Universe or Multiverse? He is a past-president of the Society for Psychical Research and is also currently president of the Scientific and Medical Network.

Here he maintains that science is continually evolving. He draws upon examples from cosmology and black holes to make this point. He also reflects on his relationship with Stephen Hawking who was his faculty advisor and mentor. He suggests that science will not be complete until it can incorporate both mind and spirit.

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in parapsychology ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980).

In the philosophy of science, reductionism is commonly equated with the idea that all sciences are reducible to physics, in other words that all phenomena can be explained in terms of physical matter and forces. Human experience can be reduced to the activation of neurons in the brain. Life can be reduced to the chemical reactions of molecules.

To some it is "an attractive theory that is getting ever closer to reality". To those of us in the post-materialist movement, reductionism is the ugly stepchild of materialism. But why? What's wrong with simplifying nature to its lowest common denominators?

To answer that question, The Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends in Berlin, with the support of the University of Wuppertal, created the Kurt Gödel Prize, with a cash purse of 15,000 Euros for the best three essays. And the winners are...

... by restricting our attention to just the physical level, we lose sight of the very phenomenon we were studying. It disintegrates under our very eyes.

– Jesse Mulder

The Kurt Gödel Prize University of Wuppertal

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 Mark Vernon 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

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