- by Sebastian Penraeth
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.
- by Marjorie Woollacott
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.
- by Dr Mario Beauregard
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.
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
- by Karen Jaenke
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.
- by Sebastian Penraeth
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.”
- by Sebastian Penraeth
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."
- by Rupert Sheldrake
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.
- by Alexander Moreira-Almeida
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.
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
- by Sebastian Penraeth
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.
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.
Consciousness for a New Generation : Introducing the University of Washington-Bothell Minor in Consciousness
- by Kathleen Noble
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.
- by Alexander Moreira-Almeida
Psychiatrists’ views on the mind-brain relationship (MBR) have marked clinical and research implications, but there is a lack of studies on this topic.
To evaluate psychiatrists’ opinions on the MBR, and whether they are amenable to change or not.
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.
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.
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.
- by Rupert Sheldrake
Photo Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz
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.