“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used
when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
For nearly a hundred years a vast majority of main-stream scientists have tennaciously held a belief in a strictly reductive materialist ontology, a kind of thinking limiting reality to nothing but spacetime, energy, matter, and, more recently, information. It’s an ontology in which physical reality is primary and mind, at best, secondary. Consequently, the majority of today’s scientists, despite ample evidence to the contrary, routinely ignore protest, dismiss, or reject out-of-hand other more inclusive and robust theories, evidence they deem anomalous–i.e., unexplainable, inconsequentially contrary, or fraudulent, and any implications and possibilities contrary to their orthodox worldview.
That ample evidence includes a large body of theoretical and practical scientific reasoning, research, and historical evidence gathered over more than a century of psychological and physiological inquiry; evidence which cannot be explained or accommodated by the reductive materialist wordview.
One comprehensive and critical assessment of the theory, research, and prevalent orthodox thinking is found in the 800-page volume, Irreducible Mind. In the Introduction, its authors assert,
The reductionist model of a strictly local, physical reality no longer satisfactorily explains or fits scientific and historical evidence accumulating over the past century. For example:
- nearly eighty years ago physicists’ were already realizing that, somehow, the act of observation and their intent–i.e., their minds–effected the outcomes of their experiments;
- in the 1970’s, scientists repeatedly confirmed, experimentally, John Bell’s theorem proving that physical reality is nonlocal, i.e., there is a fundamental connectedness–wholeness–independent of Einstein’s spacetime. Einstein called it, ‘spooky action at a distance,’ but spooky or not, it is, really, scientifically real;
- twenty-five years of scientific research in a Princeton engineering laboratory provides vast amounts of data and evidence of a small but real effect of mind (intention) on random physical processes;
- more than a half century of scholarly medical research on past-life memories (culturally, aka reincarnation) provides supporting evidence for a nonlocal explanation of mind which the orthodox worldview cannot accommodate or explain; and
- the findings of recent decades of scientific, clinical investigations of near-death and after-life (after-death) offer more evidence of a nonlocal mind (consciousness).
Skeptics and believers are all alike. At this moment scientists and skeptics are the leading dogmatists. Advance in detail is admitted: fundamental novelty is barred. This dogmatic common sense is the death of philosophical adventure. The universe is vast.
—Alfred North Whitehead
The reasons cited against the acceptance of inexplicable phenomena were always emotional reasons, such as the fear that the beauty or efficiency of the scientific system would suffer.
These are entirely unscientific and irrational grounds resulting from inadequate reflection. —Frederik van Eeden
In his recent book, Consciousness Beyond Life, cardiologist and near-death researcher Pim von Lommel wrote,
The American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn claimed that most scientists are still trying to reconcile theory and facts within the routinely accepted (materialist) paradigm, which he describes as essentially a collection of articles of faith [emphasis added] shared by scientists. All research results cannot be accounted for by the prevailing worldview are labeled “anomalies” because they threaten the existing paradigm and challenge the expectations raised by this paradigm. Needless to say, such anomalies are initially overlooked, ignored, rejected as aberrations, or even ridiculed. Near-death experiences are such anomalies. Anomalies offer the chance of modifying existing scientific theories or replacing them with new concepts that do offer an explanation. But it is rare for new concepts to be received and accepted with enthusiasm when they do not fit the prevailing materialist paradigm. The words of psychiatrist Ian Stevenson still ring true: “It’s been said that there’s nothing so troublesome as a new idea, and I think that’s particularly true in science.”
—Pim von Lommel
Much more has been written about intractable, dogmatic skepticism of respected scientists and professional skeptics and their rejection of anomalous research and findings. For example:
- Chris Carter wrote a trilogy elucidating the issues, arguments, and contentious theory, research, findings, and conclusions for what is frequently labeled paranormal. In the first book, Parapsychology and the Skeptics (2nd edition), Carter examines the role and nature of skepticism in scientific inquiry and the character of some skeptics and the skepticism they have for theories and research of paranormal phenomena. In The second and third books are Science and the Near_Death Experience and Science and After-Life Experience treat their subjects similarly.
- The peer-reviewed journal Explore regularly publishes editorials, articles, and reports on topics and research rejected by most scientific journals. In the May 2011 issue, physician/editor Larry Dossey wrote a revealing editorial on the brouhaha that erupted in the New York Times over the publication in a respected scientific journal of research deemed, by the orthodox cabal, as “an assault on science and rationality,” “bad research [which] gets happily buried in the dustbin of history,” and “craziness, pure craziness.”
→ When Science Goes Psychic
Cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter of Indiana University predicted disaster, wailing, “If any of [Bem’s] claims were true, then all of the bases underlying contemporary science would be toppled, and we would have to rethink everything about the nature of the universe … There has to be a common sense [sic] cutoff for craziness … Otherwise, the floodgates will be open to crackpots of all stripes—and opening the floodgates to the frequent publication of crackpot ideas in top-notch journals would … spell the end of science as we know it.
- Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, responding to an attack by Scientific American columnist and professional skeptic Michael Sherman and his assertion that “Skepticism is the default position because the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic.”, retorts,
But who is the believer and who is the skeptic?
I am skeptical of people who believe they know what is possible and what is not. This belief leads to dogmatism, and to the dismissal of ideas and evidence that do not fit in. Genuine skepticism involves an attitude of open-minded enquiry into what we do not understand,…
- Pim von Lommel argues,
When empirical scientific studies discover phenomena or facts that are not consistent with current scientific theories, these new facts must not be denied, suppressed, or even ridiculed, as is still quite common. In the event of new findings, the existing theories ought to be elaborated or modified and if necessary rejected and replaced. We need new ways of thinking and new forms of science to study consciousness and acquire a better understanding of the effects of consciousness.
–Pim von Lommel
- In an essay, Change the Rules!, written at the conclusion of twenty-six years of research on mind/machine interactions at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Project, Dean Emeritus Robert Jahns and Brenda Dunne summarized their conclusions:
Abstract—Although consciousness-correlated physical phenomena are widely and credibly documented, their appearance and behavior display substantial departures from conventional scientific criteria. Under even the most rigorous protocols, they are only irregularly replicable, and they appear to be insensitive to most basic physical coordinates, including distance and time. Rather, their strongest correlations are with various subjective parameters, such as intention, emotional resonance, uncertainty, attitude, and meaning, and information processing at an unconscious level appears to be involved. If science, by its most basic definition, is to pursue understanding and utilization of these extraordinary processes, it will need to expand its current paradigm to acknowledge and codify a proactive role for the mind in the establishment of physical events, and to accommodate the spectrum of empirically indicated subjective correlates. The challenges of quantitative measurement and theoretical conceptualization within such a ‘‘Science of the Subjective’’ are formidable, but its potential intellectual and cultural benefits could be immense, not least of all in improving the reach, the utility, the attitude, and the image of science itself.
—Robert Jahns & Brenda Dunne
Philosophically and scientifically, two problems emerged with this orthodox worldview: As articulated by David Chalmers, they are the easy problem and the hard problem. The easy problem concerns the physical mechanisms of, for example, known braining processes associated with perception, ideation, imagination, etc. The hard problem has to do with the experiences, the qualia of a color, concept, or image. The processes are of the material brain; the experiences are of the immaterial mind.
Both problems are shackled by the reductionist/materialist assumption that the physical processes of the brain must be producing, an immaterial mind. However, if mind is primary and unbound by spacetime–as findings of hundreds of scientific studies repeatedly suggest–then we need to be employing a different kind of thinking, one that will enable us to know and to explain nonmaterial, nonlocal mind associated with, related to, and co-created–i.e., not produced solely–by physical processes such as those of the brain, heart, and other aspects of our physical being.
A New Worldview
The new kind of thinking needed is a worldview which recognizes mind as primary and nonlocal, i.e., logically prior to but neither located in nor constrainted by spacetime. In this case, mind is not the mere product of electrochemical-neurophyiological processes, although it is, in part, in-formed by them. [In-forming, is a key construct offered by Ervin Laszlo which will be explained when the new paradigm, Idea ↔ Image ↔ Import, is presented and discussed.]
The new worldview recognizes a unity, a wholeness, an inseparableness of individual and collective mind/consciousness and reality; aspects of reality supported by theory and evidence from quantum physics. In particular, John Bell’s proof and the subsequent, substantial experimental evidence confirming it are foundational: Physical reality is nonlocal; instantaneous quantum correlations are unconstrained by limits of space and time. Eveything, in some ‘wholly’ manner, is connected to everything else.
The new worldview considers mind to be both individual and collective, thus allowing for some of the phenomena experienced and often referred to as paranormal–though in this worldview they are, fundamentally, normal i.e., part of many persons’ normal lives. Among these experiences are: past life memories; remote perception; the effects of mental effort and intention; distant healing; savant ability and knowing; the creative acts of genius; and other forms of extraordinary, creative knowing and action.
As for consciousness, it is a mind-state and a term often used in lieu of mind. For living lifeforms, it may be experienced as several levels of awareness, including conscious, sub-conscious, and unconscious. Some forward-thinking scientists even suggest that in some lifeforms–those without any form of brain or nervous system–there must is a low form of consciousness since there is awareness of conditions in their immediate environs enabling and guiding their approach/avoidance, goal-seeking actions.
Paradigm : a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly : a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.
A paradigm is also a metaphor for a worldview, figuratively denoting its essence and powerfully representing, motivating, dominating, and delimiting the thinking possible and permisible within it.
Spacetime. The prevailing orthodox scientific worldview is represented by the paradigm of spacetime, consisting of physical, spatial-temporal configurations of energy, matter, and information. In this scientific worldview, all that exits–all that is possible and permissible in this physical spacetime reality–is that which may be objectively observed, measured, and deconstructed into fundamental waves, particles and sub-particles, fields; associations, relationships, and correlations; and physical laws governing them.
A New Paradigm. Noetic Triune: Idea ↔ Image ↔ Import