Tag Archives: psychic science

The Neuron With No Clothes

Our knowledge of the nature of the objects treated in physics consists solely of readings of pointers (on instrument dials) and other indicators. (Therefore) what knowledge have we of the nature of atoms that renders it at all incongruous that they should constitute a thinking object?(Thus) science has nothing to say as to the intrinsic nature of the atom. – Sir Arthur Eddington.

What do we really know about the intrinsic nature of consciousness and its essential role (if any) in the nature of cosmos? Probably a lot less than many would assume. There is no question that our knowledge of brains has expanded massively in the past century. But what does all this data about brains really tell us about consciousness? Not a great deal, I suspect. Yet mainstream psychology and neuroscience continues to ignore the obvious implications of the question: “Are brains and minds the same thing?”

Instead, these discourses tend to ignore the question, replacing it with an unquestioned presupposition: mind equals brain. Worse still, much of science still tends not even to bother with consciousness, intention, and the importance of the role of the perceiver. Ironically, the scientific detachment that was born of the awareness of the fallibility of first-person perception has typically led to the dismissal of the role of mind in nature, evolution and cosmos.

Galen Strawson in a well-known paper entitled “Realistic monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism” points out some of the logical inconsistencies in materialist science. Strawson is incredulous at the denial of personal experience which lies at the heart of the materialist worldview that still dominates much of science, especially biology, psychology and neuroscience. This, he states, is akin to the denial of “the existence of experience.”

At this we should stop and wonder. I think we should feel very sober, and a little afraid, at the power of human credulity, the capacity of human minds to be gripped by theory, by faith. For this particular denial is the strangest thing that has ever happened in the whole history of human thought, not just the whole history of philosophy. It falls, unfortunately, to philosophy, not religion, to reveal the deepest woo-woo of the human mind. I find this grievous, but, next to this denial, every known religious belief is only a little less sensible than the belief that grass is green.

Strawson is correct. What is it about first-person experience that science is so afraid of? What has created this absurd rejection of the “I”?

We could of course run through the history of science in the past several hundred years, talking about the necessity to challenge religious authority on matters of reason, and the subsequent discrediting of theology or mysticism in providing adequate explanations of most mundane things (it has to be admitted). We could also talk about the rise of more sophisticated ways of knowing such as calculation (e.g. Newton), classification (Darwin), analysis (Comte) and experimentalism (Hemholtz) by the mid nineteenth century. And we could acknowledge the massive impact and success of technologies which arose from that – the microscope, telescope, computer and so on – and how these in turn generated exponential increases in our capacity to “perceive”, collate and analyse data.

Out of all this a new culture, a new paradigm, a new way of looking at life and cosmos emerged. Materialism was a defining feature of this science. In this schema, things – including people, animals and minds – were at their very basis material objects, regardless of what properties or behaviours they exhibited at a macro-level.

All this has been widely discussed by philosophers of science, as have been the many challenges to such a reductionist approach to knowledge. Those challenges have always been around, of course, with perhaps the emergence of quantum physics early in the nineteenth century representing the most pronounced challenge. And yet even today materialism – and the denial of mind – remains strongly embedded in many of our sciences.

​Strawson’s paper argues that any rational take on the relationship between cosmos and mind has to admit at least a “micropsychism”, if not quite the idea of panpsychism (that consciousness is present in all things, to some degree). He states that “realistic physicalists… grant that experiential phenomena are real concrete phenomena… and that experiential phenomena are therefore physical phenomena.” He argues that everything concrete is physical and everything physical is comprised of physical ultimates. Conscious experience is part of that concrete reality. Therefore consciousness is an intrinsic aspect of cosmos.

Although I do not specifically define myself as a panpsychist, clearly the idea is quite compatible with the existence of the non-local mind. If there is at least a little bit of mind found in all things, it helps to explain how it is that minds can perceive of things that are not readily perceptible with the eyes, ears and other sensory organs. I believe the latter is now undeniable. I base that conclusion upon three sources: my own extensive experience with expanded and non-local mind; first-person insights gleaned from the world’s great wisdom traditions and recorded for posterity; and upon the scientific data which has been gleaned from psychic research for more than a century.

What lies at the heart of the debate is the mind-body problem. Even if one rejects the evidence for psychic phenomena and the extended mind, we still have the issue of how we get consciousness from brains. How does conscious experience arise from the firing of neurons? Implicit within the mechanistic paradigm is that consciousness IS the firing of neurons. Because if it isn’t, then what is it?

A key issue is how to explain why it is that our experience of mind is so utterly different from what we experience when we look at, say, a brain in a vat, or an fMRI scan of neuronal activity. Clearly there is something very qualitatively different between brains and consciousness. What exactly does that difference represent, and what is the relationship between these two things?

The question has not been adequately addressed in neuroscience. As Lawrnece Le Shan points out in his wonderful book “A New Science of the Paranormal,” there is an explanatory gap which lies at the heart of the mind-equals-brain model. We have sensory inputs, we have electrical signals and we got them neurons firing and then… wala! Thought, sensation, consciousness.

Such is one of several very, very big “miracles” that go unimaginably unexplained within modern science. The other two big, big problems which I can point to are how the cosmos arose out of the nothingness that lies at the moment before the Big Bang; while the third is the puzzle of biogenesis. How did life arise from lifeless matter? For the last query, reductionism arguably works for the bio-machinery of the organism, but fails miserably to account for the rise of consciousness.

And after all, the most wonderful and surprising aspect of life is consciousness, at least as it exists in multi-cellular organisms such as we human beings. An explanation for the emergence of life which fails to account for the origin of consciousness is a bit like an account of airplanes without bothering to mention that they tend to fly. Such “explanations” are ultimately merely descriptions.

Lawrence Le Shan points out an obvious double standard with a common criticism of psychic research. In the latter critique, it is incredulously stated that research into phenomena like ESP, telepathy, precognition and so on fail to provide an adequate explanation for how information might travel from one place or mind to another place or mind without some mechanical process to mediate that transfer (note: the idea of “travel” is highly problematic in regard to non-locality).

Yet as Le Shan indicates, this explanatory gap merely mirrors the explanatory gap in psychology and neuroscience regarding how we get consciousness from neurons. As yet there is no adequate explanation, and this remains more than a merely small problem. It begs the question of what the essential nature of consciousness actually is!

And still the discourse continues without so much as a pause for reflection, hailing His Majesty the Neuron With no Clothes. Perhaps it is about time that we finally admit that the emperor is totally buck naked – and duly tell him, such that in the long run we save him from further embarrassment, when he is informed that his game is up.

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

The Future of Consciousness project overview

The short link to this page is: http://ow.ly/kCOGH

This is it! I have made references on previous occasions to something I have called The Future of Consciousness(formerly The Great Mind Shift). However this is the first time I have mentioned a project which I have been developing over the past few weeks that goes by the very same name: The Future of Consciousness. You can see an overview of the project below the book cover.

I have already formed a Meet Up group in Melbourne. Our first meeting just two days ago was very promising, with an enthusiastic fourteen members attending. This particular Meet Up group is for Melbournites only (unless you are willing to fly in to our meetings!). However, there will eventually be a Mind Shift web site all of its own, and anybody, anywhere across the globe is free to visit or become a member. Meanwhile, you can read regular updates here on this page.

I listed some initial practical possibilities for this project here.

Without further ado, here are the details of the The Future of Consciousness project, in its essence. Note that the project appears under its original name, The Coming Consciousness Revolution.

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Future of Consciousness (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

[facebook] [retweet] [twitter name=”marcustanthony1″] [buzz] [stumble] [digg]

 GMS cover basics

The Future of Consciousness

What it means for the future of science, life and business

Initiated by:

Marcus T. Anthony, PhD,

Director, MindFutures

“Where will The Coming Consciousness Revolution take us, and how can we create opportunities from it?”

The Coming Consciousness Revolution refers to the fast-approaching era of science and culture which acknowledges the reality of the extended mind and the spiritual dimensions of human experience. The Future of Consciousness explores exciting developments & possibilities in a wide array of domains including business, spirituality, philosophy, social media, education & learning, the arts, health & healing biology, physics, consciousness studies, computing etc.

The Coming Consciousness Revolution heralds an era of tremendous opportunity for all those passionate about expanded human futures and the untapped potentials within the human mind.

Overview

·        Futurist Marcus T Anthony indicates a new direction of change, & outlines what it will mean for life, work, science, education & society

·        A key purpose of The Coming Consciousness Revolution is to stimulate thinking & get people to begin expanding their thoughts about what is possible with the future of mind

·        This project has a practical focus: aimed at people who would like to seize opportunities

·        The Great Transition is a stimulus to encourage those with the imagination & foresight to explore concrete opportunities in business, career, research or life orientation.

Motivation

·        A major shift is emerging – a dramatic change in what it means to be human

·        The 21st century will increasingly be an era of connectedness, both technologically & spiritually

·        Old notions of consciousness being localised in brains will be replaced by reality of the extended mind – a mind that is in dynamic relationship with other people, the environment & the cosmos itself.

Aims of the Project

·        To publish The Coming Consciousness Revolution (book), which will be a powerful reference book (updated regularly)

·       To form The Coming Consciousness Revolution group (international think tank) to bring together a group of committed, influential experts to form a pool of knowledge & resources

·       To present an overview of some of the most important current ideas and/or scientific developments in practical applications of The Coming Consciousness Rebolution

·       To make informed predictions about where each domain may develop in the coming decades as The Coming Consciousness Revolution takes more definite form

·       To suggest opportunities for learning, business and personal growth in each domain

·        To present video and text interviews with leading thinkers in each domain

·       Regular updates (www.mind-futures.com/great-mind-shift)

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

All the evidence for psi you’ll ever need!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Dean Radin has very kindly put up a page with links to all the best evidence for psi-related human abilities – ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, intention at a distance and so on. If you have ever wanted to discover more about the evidence, or point a skeptic in the direction of the evidence, you need look no further!

I have cut and pasted all the links here, but do go to Dean Radin’s great blog and web site – and to YouTube for very informative videos like his talk at the Electric Universe conference in 2013– if you want to find out first hand about all this kind of research.

http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

Marcus

*          *          *

 

Healing at a Distance

 

Astin et al (2000). The Efficacy of “Distant Healing”: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials

 

Benson et al (2006). Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients

 

Krucoff et al (2001). Integrative noetic therapies as adjuncts to percutaneous intervention during unstable coronary syndromes: Monitoring and Actualization of Noetic Training (MANTRA) feasibility pilot

 

Krucoff et al (2005). Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study

 

Masters & Spielmans (2007). Prayer and Health: Review, Meta-Analysis, and Research Agenda

 

Leibovici (2001). Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial

 

Radin et al (2004).  Possible effects of healing intention on cell cultures and truly random events.

 

Radin et al (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of  cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system.

 

 

Physiological correlations at a distance

 

Achterberg et al (2005). Evidence for Correlations Between Distant Intentionality and Brain Function in Recipients: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis

 

Moulton & Kosslyn (2008). Using Neuroimaging to Resolve the Psi Debate

 

Schlitz et al (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology.

 

Schmidt et al (2004). Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: Two meta-analyses

 

Schmidt (2012). Can We Help Just by Good Intentions? A Meta-Analysis of Experiments on Distant Intention Effects

 

Radin (2004).  Event related EEG correlations between isolated human subjects.

 

Radin (2005). The sense of being stared at: A preliminary meta-analysis.

 

Radin & Schlitz (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study.

 

Standish et al (2003). Evidence of correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging signals between distant human brains.

 

Standish et al (2004). Electroencephalographic Evidence of  Correlated Event-Related Signals Between the Brains of Spatially and Sensory Isolated Human Subjects

 

Wackermann et al (2003). Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects

 

Wiseman & Schlitz (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring.

 

Telepathy & ESP

 

Bem & Honorton (1994). Does psi exist?

 

Hyman (1994). Anomaly or artifact? Comments on Bem and Honorton

 

Bem (1994). Response to Hyman

 

Tressoldi (2011). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: the case of non-local perception, a classical and Bayesian review of evidences

 

Tressoldi et al (2011). Mental Connection at Distance: Useful for Solving Difficult Tasks?

 

Sherwood & Roe (2003). A Review of Dream ESP Studies Conducted Since the Maimonides Dream ESP Programme

 

Storm et al (2010).  Meta-Analysis of Free-Response Studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the Noise Reduction Model in Parapsychology

 

Storm et al (2013).  Testing the Storm et al. (2010) Meta-Analysis Using Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Reply to Rouder et al. (2013)

 

Williams (2011). Revisiting the Ganzfeld ESP Debate: A Basic Review and Assessment

 

General Overviews & Critiques

 

Alcock (2003). Give the Null Hypothesis a Chance

 

Carter (2010). Heads I lose, tails you win.

 

Delgado & Howard (2005). Finding and Correcting Flawed Research Literatures

 

Parker & Brusewitz (2003). A Compendium of the Evidence for Psi

 

Mediumship & Survival of Consciousness

 

Beischel & Schwartz (2007). Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol

 

Facco & Agrillo (2012).   Near-death experiences between science and prejudice

 

Precognition & Presentiment

 

Bem (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect

 

Bierman (2011). Anomalous Switching of the Bi-Stable Percept of a Necker Cube: A Preliminary Study

 

Galek et al (2012).  Correcting the Past: Failures to Replicate Psi

 

Honorton & Ferrari (1989). “Future telling”: A meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments, 1935-1987

 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart

 

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?

 

Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis

Radin (2004).  Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions. 

 

Radin & Lobach (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor.

 

Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?

 

Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators.

 

Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds

 

Theory

 

Bierman (2003). Does Consciousness Collapse the Wave-Packet?

 

Bierman (2010).Consciousness induced restoration of time symmetry (CIRTS ): a psychophysical theoretical perspective

 

Henry (2005). The mental universe

 

Hiley & Pylkkanen (2005). Can Mind Affect Matter Via Active Information?

 

Houtkooper (2002). Arguing for an Observational Theory of Paranormal Phenomena

 

Josephson & Pallikari-Viras (1991). Biological Utilisation of Quantum NonLocality

 

Lucadou et al (2007). Synchronistic Phenomena as Entanglement Correlations in Generalized Quantum Theory

 

May et al (1995).Decision augmentation theory: Towards a model of anomalous mental phenomena

 

Tressoldi (2012). Replication unreliability in psychology: elusive phenomena or “elusive” statistical power?

 

Tressoldi et al (2010). Extrasensory perception and quantum models of cognition.

 

Mind-Matter Interaction

 

Bosch et al (2006).  Examining Psychokinesis: The Interaction of Human Intention With Random Number Generators—A Meta-Analysis

 

Radin et al (2006). Reexamining psychokinesis: Commentary on the Bösch, Steinkamp and Boller meta-analysis.

 

Nelson & Bancel (2011). Effects of mass consciousness: Changes in random data during global events.

 

Jahn (1982). The persistent paradox of psychic phenomena: An engineering perspective.

 

Crawford et al (2003). Alterations in Random Event Measures Associated with a Healing Practice

 

Nelson et al (2002). Correlations of continuous random data with major world events.

 

Radin (2006). Experiments testing models of mind-matter interaction.

 

Radin. (2008). Testing nonlocal observation as a source of intuitive knowledge.  

 

Radin et al (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments

 

Potential Applications

Carpenter (2011). Laboratory Psi Effects May Be Put to Practical Use: Two Pilot Studies

 

Books

 

Radin (2013). Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities

 

Alexander (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

 

Carpenter (2012). First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life

 

Carter (2012). Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics

 

Targ (2012). The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities

 

Van Lommel (2011). Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience

 

Carter (2010). Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death

 

Kelly et al (2009). Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

 

Tart (2009). The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together

 

Mayer (2008). Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind

 

Irwin & Watt (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology

 

Radin (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality

Radin (1997). The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena

 

[facebook]
[retweet]
[twitter name=”marcustanthony1″]
[buzz]
[stumble]
[digg]