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Reductionism And Materialism Are Not Scientific Givens


Open_Minded
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Hello Everyone:

 

I’m back on board… it’s been awhile. Ex-Christian.net has been flitting in and out of my mind these last few months. On the one hand there are some things I’ve wanted to discuss with old friends. On the other hand there are many new folks on board who do not know me. And given the history of Christian proselytizing at Ex-C, those who do not know me may assume that my intentions have ulterior motives. So… before I jump into the heart of this thread I’d like to clear a few things up.

 

  • I don’t care how you self-identify. It doesn’t matter to me if you are Atheist, Agnostic, or identify with any one of the world’s religions. I’ve family members who run the spectrum. We all get along with each other and respect each other. I’m capable of respecting you. All I ask is that you respect my decision to self-identify as Christian and please do not assume that I came back on board to “save your soul”.
  • If you’re interested in my history on the board, feel free to read through the two linked threads in my signature.

 

So… onto the discussion I’ve been hankering to have with a few old friends.

 

Some months back my daughter told me about an NPR new story about a study on distant healing called the Love Study:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104351710

 

On a bright spring day, Schlitz is leading Teena and J.D. Miller down a path to the laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, north of San Francisco. Schlitz is the president of the institute, which conducts research on consciousness and spirituality. The Millers have been married a decade and their affection is palpable — making them perfect for the so-called Love Study.

 

Schlitz takes Teena into an isolated room, where no sound can come in or go out. Teena settles into a deep armchair as Schlitz attaches electrodes to her right hand.

"This is measuring blood flow in your thumb, and this is your skin conductance activity," the researcher explains. "So basically both of these are measures of your unconscious nervous system."

 

Schlitz locks Teena into the electromagnetically shielded chamber, then ushers J.D. into another isolated room with a closed-circuit television. She explains that the screen will go on and off. And at random intervals, Teena's image will appear on the screen for 10 seconds.

 

"And so during the times when you see her," she instructs, "it's your opportunity to think about sending loving, compassionate intention."

 

As the session begins, Dean Radin, a senior scientist here, watches as a computer shows changes in J.D.'s blood pressure and perspiration. When J.D. sees the image of his wife, the steady lines suddenly jump and become ragged. The question is: Will Teena's nervous system follow suit?

 

"Notice how here … see, there's a change in the blood volume," says Radin, pointing to a screen charting Teena's measurements. "A sudden change like that is sometimes associated with an orienting response. If you suddenly hear somebody whispering in your ear, and there's nobody around, you have this sense of what? What was that? That's more or less what we're seeing in the physiology."

 

An hour later, Radin displays Teena's graph, which shows a flat line during the times her husband was not staring at her image, but when her husband began to stare at her, she stopped relaxing and became "aroused" within about two seconds.

 

After running 36 couples through this test, the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner, the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. The odds of this happening by chance were 1 in 11,000. Three dozen double blind, randomized studies by such institutions as the University of Washington and the University of Edinburgh have reported similar results.

 

 

This news story started my mind mussing. The fact that love and compassion extended remotely could impact another person’s health didn’t surprise me at all. But, I was fascinated with the idea that there were some in science were taking this phenomenon seriously. So…. I began to do some of my own research on the study of distant healing.

 

What became obvious was that science is not ignoring this line of study and inquiry. Yes… the majority of the scientific community still believes that consciousness is local and the product of physical brain activity.

 

But… there are those within the scientific community who are pushing boundaries. I do not pursue this discussion to try and prove a nonlocal mind/consciousness. It can’t be proven. But neither can it be proven that consciousness is a product of brain activity.

 

My reason for starting this discussion is simple, to show that the scientific community does not march lock-step behind the reductionist and scientific materialistic view of consciousness. Following is the link, enjoy the reading and I look forward to a great discussion.

 

Therapeutic Intent/Healing Bibliography of Research – by Larry Dossey, M.D., and Stephan A. Schwartz: http://www.stephanaschwartz.com/distant_healing_biblio.htm

 

In Peace - O_M

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I don’t have much time to respond to this before I go to bed for the night OM. But I am glad you posted it and it is good to see you around again.

 

My reason for starting this discussion is simple, to show that the scientific community does not march lock-step behind the reductionist and scientific materialistic view of consciousness.

I believe this is accurate. However those who argue that reductionism is incomplete are in a definite minority, oftentimes a beleaguered minority.

 

I hope to post more tomorrow.

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Good to see you again O_M. :wave:

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Good to see you again O_M. :wave:

Good to see you as well HanSolo. :)

 

I don’t have much time to respond to this before I go to bed for the night OM. But I am glad you posted it and it is good to see you around again.
It is good to see you too, Legion Regalis :)

 

However those who argue that reductionism is incomplete are in a definite minority, oftentimes a beleaguered minority.
We agree completely.

 

But.... being in a beleaguered minority does not make one wrong (or right for that matter). Many important scientific discoveries have not enjoyed the immediate and whole-hearted support of the scientific, philosophical &/or religious communities. The scientific method requires that experiments can be repeated successfully over and over and over again. That process takes time (sometimes years). So... it is no surprise at all that early experiments do not change the way whole generations of scientists think. Sometimes it takes a few generations for a paradigm shift to happen.

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Hello Open-Minded. Thank you for posting the interesting articles. I would like to see much more scientific research in the area of mental powers- telepathy-ESP.

 

It is nice to see you back.

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Hello Open-Minded. Thank you for posting the interesting articles. I would like to see much more scientific research in the area of mental powers- telepathy-ESP.

 

It is nice to see you back.

 

Hello Deva:

 

It's nice to be back. :)

 

I too hope to seem more scientific research. For me, what stands out about these types of studies is the following:

 

After running 36 couples through this test, the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner, the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. The odds of this happening by chance were 1 in 11,000.

 

Science can't prove what mechanism is behind the ability of one mind to influence another life remotely. Indeed there may be no mechanism, this phenomenon may be the result of non-local consciousness. At any rate, the shear odds against it happening "by chance" dictate that we pay attention. That we give respect to the research and do more extensive research.

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OM I think our conversation is not likely to be very interesting or dramatic if we agree all the time. :grin:

 

Let me stress at the outset that I have only the shallowest comprehension of the mind. I think this is ironic seeing as it’s the closest thing to me. In some sense it is “me”! But I do maintain an interest in the mind. It has tapered off somewhat over the years as I have seen it necessary to retreat somewhat and first inquire into the nature of life. I think these questions of life and mind will become critically important to us as the steward species of Earth.

 

being in a beleaguered minority does not make one wrong (or right for that matter). Many important scientific discoveries have not enjoyed the immediate and whole-hearted support of the scientific, philosophical &/or religious communities. The scientific method requires that experiments can be repeated successfully over and over and over again. That process takes time (sometimes years). So... it is no surprise at all that early experiments do not change the way whole generations of scientists think. Sometimes it takes a few generations for a paradigm shift to happen.

We agree completely. :grin: And I think paradigm shifts are often accompanied by some degree of pain, whether it be with an individual or a society. And sweeping changes of paradigm are often initiated by a single person or a handful of people. Thomas Kuhn even suggested that these shifts only really take hold when the scientists who adhere to the old ways die.

 

I am thinking about running this article by some non-reductionist scholar friends of mine and seeing what they have to say about it OM. If I do that, I’ll be sure to inform you of some of their most salient points.

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OM!! :bounce:

 

I have to go read and pull some things up, but I'll be back. I just wanted to say that I'm listening to some CD's by Ken Wilber (it's been hard to do, but I'm pushing forward!) and he mentions that there are two levels of prayer. I can't recall the names but one has to do with prayer for the things you want and then prayer for others.

 

Anyway, I have to pull some thoughts together and I'll return!

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Hello Everyone:

 

But neither can it be proven that consciousness is a product of brain activity.

In Peace - O_M

 

Bullshit. I can give drugs that erase consciousness AND brain activity. I can remove pieces of brain, and in the process eliminate conciousness. I can block blood vessels that supply oxygen to the reticular activating system and eliminate conciousness.

 

Bullets through brains eliminate conciousness every day.

 

What kind of psychobabble crap is this? Are you deliberately trying to ignore neuroscience in favor of "love science"?

 

Nevermind. I really don't want to know. The world is too full of quackery, fakery, and psychic claptrap already.

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Hello Everyone:

 

But neither can it be proven that consciousness is a product of brain activity.

In Peace - O_M

 

Bullshit. I can give drugs that erase consciousness AND brain activity. I can remove pieces of brain, and in the process eliminate conciousness. I can block blood vessels that supply oxygen to the reticular activating system and eliminate conciousness.

 

Bullets through brains eliminate conciousness every day.

 

What kind of psychobabble crap is this? Are you deliberately trying to ignore neuroscience in favor of "love science"?

 

Nevermind. I really don't want to know. The world is too full of quackery, fakery, and psychic claptrap already.

Of course, if you destroy the reciever, you won't hear music.

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Bullets through brains eliminate conciousness every day.

I have to admit that I also agree with the good doctor. Destroy the brain and destroy the mind. This is not to say that brain is equal to mind. But I think there can be little doubt that the brain is the organ of thought.

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Of course, if you destroy the reciever, you won't hear music.

I think this is an interesting and provocative analogy.

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Of course, if you destroy the reciever, you won't hear music.

I think this is an interesting and provocative analogy.

I see many fine gradations of "conciousness" every day, even in my family members. Failure to commit actions to memory is a minor variance. Failure to arouse is a major variance.

 

I just saw a man who had previously had a stroke. He was eating his "gruel" at home when he began choking. Now he is in the ICU, and his eyes are open, but there is no "awareness". He will respond to painful stimuli.

 

The saying is, "The lights are on, but no one's home."

 

I could revise the statement and say, "The radio is on, but there is nothing to be heard but static."

 

Expressive aphasia. Receptive aphasia. Vegetative state. We're not talking about hearing problems, we're talking about data processing. Basic thought, awareness, humanity. The brain dead are not just suffering from "destroyed receivers". They lack everything we consider human. They are - dead.

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I just saw a man who had previously had a stroke. He was eating his "gruel" at home when he began choking. Now he is in the ICU, and his eyes are open, but there is no "awareness". He will respond to painful stimuli.

 

The saying is, "The lights are on, but no one's home."

 

I could revise the statement and say, "The radio is on, but there is nothing to be heard but static."

 

Expressive aphasia. Receptive aphasia. Vegetative state. We're not talking about hearing problems, we're talking about data processing. Basic thought, awareness, humanity. The brain dead are not just suffering from "destroyed receivers". They lack everything we consider human. They are - dead.

 

They are dead to us, to our ability to access them. But, we don't know what happens to consciousness once the "lights go out". We simply don't.

 

My point is not that you are "wrong" and I am "right" that is a black/white position. I don't generally take such rigid positions.

 

My point is that consciousness is not so simple to define as reductionists would have us believe. That there are many intelligent, sincere people within the scientific community who do not share a reductionist view of biology.

 

Stuart Hameroff is an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona known for his promotion of the scientific study of consciousness, and his theories of the mechanisms of consciousness. Following is a link to one article he wrote. Anesthesia, Consciousness and Hydrophobic Pockets - A Unitary Quantum Hypothesis of Anesthetic Action

 

II. Consciousness

 

What is it that disappears during anesthesia? In particular, what is the nature of conscious experience--our "inner life"--comprised of raw feelings and sensations known to philosophers as 'qualia'? The most direct and frequent answer is that conscious ex perience is an emergent property of complex neural network activity, for example within thalamo-cortical loops firing coherently in the range of 40 Hz (e.g. Jasper and Koyama, 1968; Baars, 1988; Singer et al, 1990; Crick and Koch, 1990). Clinical electrop hysiological brain monitoring during general anesthesia shows reduction and desynchronization of the brain's neural-level dynamics. Electrical firing patterns are determined by synaptic connections, in turn governed by states of membrane proteins. Such fi ring patterns are proposed as the "neural correlates" from which consciousness emerges. This view is favored by reductionist and functionalist philosophers like Patricia Churchland (1986) and Daniel Dennett (1991), as well as proponents of "strong" artifi cial intelligence (AI) who foresee consciousness emerging from complexity in silicon computers.

 

However non-reductionists question whether neural network firing patterns can provide complete explanations for conscious experience and other enigmatic features (unitary binding, non-computability, pre-conscious to conscious transition, nondeterministic free will). Philosopher David Chalmers (1996) has observed that even if the activity of every protein, membrane, ion and synapse in an entire human brain were precisely correlated with a particular mental state, the state's subjective qualia, or experienc e (the smell of a rose, the sound of an oboe, the pain of an incision. . .) would be no better understood. Why aren't we "zombies," robot-like automata with complex behavior but lacking conscious experience? Perhaps something is missing from the reduction ist/emergent account.

 

An alternative or supplemental panpsychist, or "pan-experiential" view holds that conscious experience (or its raw, undifferentiated proto-conscious precursors) is a fundamental feature of the universe somehow accessed by brain activities(e.g. Democritus , Leibniz, Whitehead, Wheeler, Chalmers. . .). Modern pan-experientialism views 'qualia' as basic features of reality, emanating from the quantum world (Stapp, 1992; Hameroff, 1998).

 

And......

 

VI. Conclusion

 

The view of anesthetic mechanism presented here may be summarized as a testable "unitary quantum hypothesis":

 

1) Consciousness depends on quantum states (coherent superposition of endogenous van der Waals London forces) in hydrophobic pockets of select brain proteins.

2) Anesthetics act (through exogenous van der Waals London forces) to inhibit electron mobility and prevent quantum states in these hydrophobic pockets.

 

Hameroff goes on (in the article) to thank others for their assistance. One person he thanks is Roger Penrose - hardly a quack.

 

Whatever your personal thoughts are about your patients consciousness, they are not concrete facts excepted without question in the scientific/medical communities. The bottom line is you don't know what happens to a person's consciousness once the "lights go out". You only know that the rest of us can not access their consciousness. But that reality does not dictate that the "I" of a person is "dead". It only dictates that their physical brain or their physical body in general is dead.

 

My mother was a nurse for my entire growing up years. She taught all of us children not to ever say anything in front of an unconscious person that we would not say in front of them if they were conscious. She had witnessed too many patients who came back from unconscious states (like comas) and were able to tell others what had been said and done in their presence (and sometimes outside their physical presence) while they were "unconscious".

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Of course, if you destroy the reciever, you won't hear music.

I think this is an interesting and provocative analogy.

I see many fine gradations of "conciousness" every day, even in my family members. Failure to commit actions to memory is a minor variance. Failure to arouse is a major variance.

 

I just saw a man who had previously had a stroke. He was eating his "gruel" at home when he began choking. Now he is in the ICU, and his eyes are open, but there is no "awareness". He will respond to painful stimuli.

 

The saying is, "The lights are on, but no one's home."

 

I could revise the statement and say, "The radio is on, but there is nothing to be heard but static."

 

Expressive aphasia. Receptive aphasia. Vegetative state. We're not talking about hearing problems, we're talking about data processing. Basic thought, awareness, humanity. The brain dead are not just suffering from "destroyed receivers". They lack everything we consider human. They are - dead.

I don't think that anyone is going to disagree that if the brain is destroyed or damaged that consciousness/mind will disappear...for that individual. What is being said is that the material can't account for why consciousness is aware (in it's entirety). There are materialists views, reductive views and nonreductive views.

 

The article OM referenced mentions David Chalmers. He has put forth that there are the easy problems of consciousness and then there are the hard problems:

 

What makes the easy problems easy? For these problems, the task is to explain certain behavioral or cognitive functions: that is, to explain how some causal role is played in the cognitive system, ultimately in the production of behavior. To explain the performance of such a function, one need only specify a mechanism that plays the relevant role. And there is good reason to believe that neural or computational mechanisms can play those roles.

 

What makes the hard problem hard? Here, the task is not to explain behavioral and cognitive functions: even once one has an explanation of all the relevant functions in the vicinity of consciousness — discrimination, integration, access, report, control — there may still remain a further question: why is the performance of these functions accompanied by experience? Because of this, the hard problem seems to be a different sort of problem, requiring a different sort of solution.

Consciousness and Its Place in Nature

 

He puts up three arguments against materialism and I believe there are 5 types of materialisms. It gets way over my head, but the point is is that consciousness is not known to be a function of the brain anymore than soundwaves are a function of the eardrum. He posits that consciousness may be a fundamental aspect of reality.

 

Here is the view he holds as promising:

 

11 Type-F Monism

Type-F monism is the view that consciousness is constituted by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities: that is, by the categorical bases of fundamental physical dispositions.[*] On this view, phenomenal or protophenomenal properties are located at the fundamental level of physical reality, and in a certain sense, underlie physical reality itself.

(Same link)

 

 

If that is the case, then I may be able to see why distant healing may be possible. I don't think it would be in the form of an conscious knowing by the receipient. It may act in some manner similar to the way "we" beat our hearts or grow our hair. We obviously don't know how we do these things, but we do.

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My point is that consciousness is not so simple to define as reductionists would have us believe. That there are many intelligent, sincere people within the scientific community who do not share a reductionist view of biology.

I completely agree with this OM. But as the article itself says... We must be open minded but not so open minded that our brains fall out.

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I really want this to be true :D

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My point is that consciousness is not so simple to define as reductionists would have us believe. That there are many intelligent, sincere people within the scientific community who do not share a reductionist view of biology.

I completely agree with this OM. But as the article itself says... We must be open minded but not so open minded that our brains fall out.

:)

 

I tend to think this way because it makes more sense to me than having intelligent entities somehow come about in an unintelligent universe...like birds landing on a dead tree; being plopped here from somewhere else. No wonder alien speculation and the theistic views of God abound! :HaHa: There is not much difference in the thinking of the proponents of an outside creator and the materialistic atheist, IMO. Just different sides of the same coin. Both see the universe as dead only the theist puts a "God" in there to shape the dead clay and atheist sees this same dead clay coming alive...somehow. I say, "The clay is A.L.I.V.E.!!!" (Sorry, horror movie moment). :HaHa:

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I really want this to be true :D

Alice! How have you been??

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OM I took a risk and ran this article by my scholar friends. Here is what one of them has responded with so far...

 

"Thanks for the reference. It is a valid field of research and theory, but very problematic within the mainstream science venues. The Society for Scientific Exploration deals in all sorts of so called 'anomalous' phenomena, i.e., what used to be called 'paranormal.' They try to maintain high stgandards. Take a look at http://www.scientificexploration.org/ There are online talks you can watch on the effect of prayer or 'distent intention' on plant growth, healing, etc."

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Wow.....

 

HanSolo, Devalight, Legion, NotBlinded, Alice.... it's great to "see" all of you again. I'm still missing a few others and hoping they drop by soon. Specifically.... the party won't be complete without Antlerman... :)

 

OM I took a risk and ran this article by my scholar friends. Here is what one of them has responded with so far...

 

"Thanks for the reference. It is a valid field of research and theory, but very problematic within the mainstream science venues. The Society for Scientific Exploration deals in all sorts of so called 'anomalous' phenomena, i.e., what used to be called 'paranormal.' They try to maintain high stgandards. Take a look at http://www.scientificexploration.org/ There are online talks you can watch on the effect of prayer or 'distent intention' on plant growth, healing, etc."

Hello Legion ... thanks for the input and the link to Society for Scientific Exploration Like your friend said.. "It is a valid field of research and theory". I do know mainstream science raises their eyebrows over this type of research.... but if the research is being done to high scientific standards, they can raise their eyebrows all they want. At some point the research will speak for itself.

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I really want this to be true :D

 

Hello Alice :wave: It's great to connect with you again.

 

As the original NPR news story concluded:

 

After running 36 couples through this test, the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner, the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. The odds of this happening by chance were 1 in 11,000. Three dozen double blind, randomized studies by such institutions as the University of Washington and the University of Edinburgh have reported similar results.

 

Those are pretty steep odds .... so then the question isn't so much "is it true" but "how" can it be true. :)

 

In Peace:

 

O_M

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I actually think it IS possible to assert conclusively that the brain is the storehouse of the mind. I think that if one believes that the brain is some sort of "receiver", they haven't thought the whole thing through. I used to not have a good answer to this, but now I have a couple. First the argumentative: What if there is some sort of external source of our true nature? Why would you assume that even a perfectly functioning brain displays even a trace of this "true self"? It's been shown that parts of the brain control things like empathy, judgment, and even fairness-- an electrical signal sent by electrodes to that part of the brain that deals with fairness actually disables it, making the person unable to choose NOT to cheat someone out of even a small amount of profit. That said, one's external "true self" can be altered by healthy brain chemistry. Your true self could be a tyrant, bent on universal domination, but the physical form they currently inhabit or interact with, prevents them from acting according to their nature.

 

That argument aside, people seem not to know that energy cannot be stored outside of a physical medium. At least, I've never heard of such a thing happening. If it's not in a physical medium, it's in transit, and it's reconfiguring itself constantly. It's also changing states as well (electrical, radio, light, radiation, etc.). So the idea that the consciousness can exist independently of a brain (and a physical body) would seem to be defeated by that fact. Of course, my science could be wonky on this issue, but it makes sense to me. If I am inaccurate on that, please tell me.

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I really want this to be true :D

 

Hello Alice :wave: It's great to connect with you again.

 

As the original NPR news story concluded:

 

After running 36 couples through this test, the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner, the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. The odds of this happening by chance were 1 in 11,000. Three dozen double blind, randomized studies by such institutions as the University of Washington and the University of Edinburgh have reported similar results.

 

Those are pretty steep odds .... so then the question isn't so much "is it true" but "how" can it be true. :)

 

In Peace:

 

O_M

 

Hi, O.M.! Nice to meet you.

 

I actually posted a link to the NPR article when it first played a few months ago. Two things about the study struck me:

 

- It doesn't matter whether or not the people involved in the study are religious (or which religion they follow), and

 

- It shows some sort of "entanglement" between humans who have close relationships.

 

I don't think it necessarily refutes or calls into question either reductionism or materialism. It might force science to redefine the material world to include higher dimensions, but quantum physics has been screwing with the scientific model of the physical world for a long time now.

 

Here's the thing: if a thing (or effect) can be measured, and an experiment can be replicated, then all that remains is to identify the cause of the phenomenon. Some effects have been studied for decades before the cause was understood. Many, many natural phenomena are still not understood at all (gravity, anyone?). That doesn't make them "supernatural," it just means that the natural world is extremely complex and often mysterious.

 

The desire to attribute the unknown to "supernatural" causes appears to be built-in to humans. Sort of like the desire to see patterns where there are none (faces in ink blots, the Virgin Mary in a cheese sandwich). Historically, such explanations have eventually been relegated to the realm of folklore and superstition as scientific understanding of the universe continues to increase.

 

I am fascinated by this kind of study. But I don't draw the same conclusions you seem to have drawn.

 

Peace,

Sean

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Wow.....

 

HanSolo, Devalight, Legion, NotBlinded, Alice.... it's great to "see" all of you again. I'm still missing a few others and hoping they drop by soon. Specifically.... the party won't be complete without Antlerman... :)

 

OM I took a risk and ran this article by my scholar friends. Here is what one of them has responded with so far...

 

"Thanks for the reference. It is a valid field of research and theory, but very problematic within the mainstream science venues. The Society for Scientific Exploration deals in all sorts of so called 'anomalous' phenomena, i.e., what used to be called 'paranormal.' They try to maintain high stgandards. Take a look at http://www.scientificexploration.org/ There are online talks you can watch on the effect of prayer or 'distent intention' on plant growth, healing, etc."

Hello Legion ... thanks for the input and the link to Society for Scientific Exploration Like your friend said.. "It is a valid field of research and theory". I do know mainstream science raises their eyebrows over this type of research.... but if the research is being done to high scientific standards, they can raise their eyebrows all they want. At some point the research will speak for itself.

 

I am so excited that I'm on a quote-mining mission!

 

OM, have you looked into process philosophy or theology? People around the forum are probably tired of me posting about it, but it ties in with this and my beliefs. It's like I found a brand-new toy or something! HA!

 

Anyway:

 

3 The mind–body problem

Panexperientialists, like materialists, consider insoluble the problem of dualistic interaction: How could mind and brain cells, understood as actualities of ontologically different types, interact? Materialism seeks to avoid this problem by thinking of the mind as somehow identical with the brain. However, besides still having the problem of how conscious experience could arise out of insentient neurons, materialism is also hard-pressed to explain the apparent unity and freedom of our experience. The move by eliminative materialists, denying that there is any experience, unity or freedom to explain, rejects in theory what is inevitably presupposed in practice. Whiteheadian process philosophy suggests, on the basis of its panexperientialism, a “nondualistic interactionism” meant to avoid the problems of both dualism and materialism. With dualism, it distinguishes (numerically) between mind and brain. The distinct reality of the mind, as a temporally ordered society of very high-level occasions of experience, provides a locus for the unity of our experience and its power to exercise self-determination. But by rejecting dualism’s assumption that the mind is ontologically different from the brain cells, panexperientialism removes the main obstacle to understanding how our experiences could interact with our brain cells. As Hartshorne puts it: “cells can influence our human experiences because they have feelings that we can feel. To deal with the influences of human experiences upon cells, one turns this around. We have feelings that cells can feel” (1962: 229).

 

And this:

 

5 Reconciling science and religion

One side of this task of reconciling science and religion involves what has been discussed above—the replacement of the materialistic worldview, with which science has recently been associated, with panexperientialism, which allows religious and moral experience as well as freedom to be taken seriously. The other side of the task involves overcoming exaggerations from the religious side that conflict with necessary assumptions of science. Here the main exaggeration involves the idea of divine power. Whitehead and Hartshorne do believe that a metaphysical description of reality points to the necessity of a supreme agent to which the name “God” can meaningfully be applied. (Arguments for the existence of God are developed much more fully by Hartshorne (1941, 1962) than by Whitehead.) But they strongly reject the traditional doctrine of divine power, according to which God, having created the world ex nihilo, can interrupt its basic causal processes—a doctrine that, besides creating an insuperable problem of evil, also conflicts with the assumption of scientific naturalism that no such interruptions can occur. Their alternative proposal is that the power of God is persuasive, not coercive (Whitehead 1929, 1933; Hartshorne 1984).

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