at your theological self in the mirror
like to take this interesting test "What
is your theological world view?"
views against the articles that follow!
For the first-time reader: Why this journal?
Those who produce the journal are mainly believing but non-dogmatic
churchgoing Christians. We like theologians like Marcus Borg, or
William Barclay. Celtic worship; for us, love of God and love of
neighbour is central, and that therefore that it is possible for people
of differing theological beliefs to be of one spirit in worship, since
relationship is the key. We also believe that God is in all,
through all, and above all, and that objective science can
immeasurable widen and deepen our feeling for Spirit.
And therein lies our problem, because within science today there is a
bitter warfare between the mechanists or materialists, and spiritually
minded scientists who perceive that modern physics has finally
destroyed La Place's dead billiard-ball universe, and see the
basic stuff of the universe as being more mind than matter.
This journal may not help directly with your prayers and your love:
look for that sustenance elsewhere. It is more attacking the strident
materialism of our day, and showing how science free from that
restrictive philosophy can lead us to a truer understanding of things.
In future issues, nevertheless, we hope in future issues to look back
over our journey in the past four years, and discuss implications that
may help in nurturing our spiritual paths.
Department of Physics, University of
Cambridge Lecture given at the Nobel Laureates’ meeting
Lindau, June 30th., 2004 © B D
Josephson 2004 Edited version of presentation (rev ised Aug. 20th.,
What is the issue?
The ‘generally accepted view’
regarding a phenomenon can be wrong in two ways:
(a) a non-existent phenomenon is
considered real (e.g. N-rays, polywater); or
(b) a real phenomenon is considered
nonexistent (e.g. continental drift, meteorites)
Langmuir’s much-quoted lecture
on Pathological Science dealt with case (a); the interest here is in
case (b). What makes the
scientific establishment, in some cases, vehemently deny phenomena
for which there is strong evidence?
Characteristics of scientific
sceptics, according to Beaudette:
1. They do not express their
criticisms in those venues where it will be subject to peer review.
2. They do not go into the
laboratory and practise the experiment along with the practitioner.
3. Assertions are offered as though
they were scientifically based when in fact they are mere guesses.
4. Satire, dismissal and slander are
5. When explanations are advanced
... ad hoc reasons are constantly advanced for their rejection.
These reasons often assert offhand that the explanation violates
some conservation law.
Evidence is rejected outright
if it does not answer every possible question at the outset.
this very readable lecture
As an example of what Josephson is
saying, read this account of how arch-materialist Richard Dawkins
dealt with biologist biologist Rupert Sheldrake: Dawkins
comes to call <http://www.dailygrail.com/node/5817>
Josephson provides this valuable
More about Josephson:
the Jewish Virtual Library
Britannica on Josephson:
SKEPTICO: Science at a tipping point
Resist the Non-Living Universe Assumption 2007-10-15
Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris, biologist, ecologist, futurist and author,
examines why scientists should be skeptical of their assumption that
the universe is non-living: "… the fundamental belief in
Western science is that this is a non-living universe. No one has
ever proved this. I don’t think anyone could prove it. It is
an assumption. If I say I want to build a science based on the
assumption this is a living universe scientists will say –
prove it. But, they don’t have to prove their fundamental
assumption that this is a non-living universe. Western science has
developed the only culture in history, I think, that has developed
the concept of non-life."
is of great importance. Radin has for many
years been one of the major researchers in our field. Dean Radin began his
career in electrical engineering and cybernetics at the University of Illinois
before moving on to psychic phenomena at the University of Edinburgh, Princeton
University and the University of Nevada.
you have broadband you will be very interested to view and listen to his You
Tube lecture: "Psychology and the Taboo of
Psi" View and
Abstract: Do telepathy,
clairvoyance and other "psi" abilities exist? The majority of the general
population believes that they do, and yet fewer than one percent of mainstream
academic institutions have any faculty known for their interest in these
frequently reported experiences. Why is a topic of enduring and widespread
interest met with such resounding silence in academia? The answer is not due to
a lack of scientific evidence, or even to a lack of scientific interest, but
rather involves a taboo. I will discuss the nature of this taboo, some of the
empirical evidence and critical responses, and speculate on the
His 90 minute lecture is
detailed and persuasive, too many details to give here. But take this example:
"Ganzfeld experiments" , where half ping-pong
balls are placed over the eyes of experimental subjects "encourage visual
hallucinations" helping a subject guess a target picture being looked at by a
person attempting to transmit it. With four pictures, over many experiments the
subject will guess one time in four by chance or 25% of the time. correct
results actually average 32% of the time."For all subjects combined over 3000
sets of experiments", the odds against chance of scoring so high leap up to "29
quintillion to 1." Some subjects can average 65% of time right.
"A skeptic did eight ganzfeld studies still got
32%. ...Then you say this is precariously close to demonstrating something which
we dont believe in."
Post a comment
Richard Dawkins and the Paradigm
journal, for some years we have been focusing on science and
religion.It would perhaps be better to express the issue as a
philosophical civil war that has been going on amongst scientists
for the past century. And the war of course is between the
materialistically minded scientists and philosophers, who wish to
restrict the scope of scientific inquiry, and the spiritually minded
scientists who believe that there are no limits to scientific
inquiry. Surveys suggest that about 60% of scientists are
materialists, and 40% spiritually minded, and that this has been the
case for a very long time. This fact has enabled
aggressive materialists in the universities to band together to deny
funding and even employment to the spiritually minded, to make loud
public protests trying to discredit their work. Thus they act as
kind of Paradigm Police protecting materialist belief.
areas for these self
appointed Police are (1) the implications of theoretical
quantum physicists work for cosmology (about the fundamental nature
work of many leading scientists in the field of psychical research
in the past 150 years,
of the countless thousands of well-attested paranormal case
histories in this period,
open ended disciplined research in this area.
this kind of thing from fundamentalist sects, or the old atheist
So let us
now say about our journal, that we are focusing on Paradigm
Police-free science as it helps us to think about our
participation in Spirit and the universe of the senses.
we need to keep clear in our minds what we mean by “science”,
because people sometimes spell it with a capital S, and talk of
“Science” proving something, teaching something like a
philosophy or a church. In reality science is a heterogeneous
collection of techniques whereby one focuses in a rigorous and
disciplined way on a collection of data or phenomena, makes some
kind of classification or theory about it, and evaluates the theory.
Some definitions of science restrict the procedures to repeatable
experiments in a laboratory. But much science is descriptive and
classificatory, geography and geology, for instance, botany and
The problem for those wishing to study the human
mind, and the phenomena of consciousness, has been the wish to be an
exact science like physics, employing mathematics as the major tool.
But that wish has no divine sanction of course. Disciplines can be
evolved that are suitable for the job in hand, provided that others
can use the same disciplines, examine the theories and hypotheses
that have been made, and prove or disprove them.
Misreading the mind
neuroscientists want to understand the mystery of consciousness,
they'll need new methods.
By Jonah Lehrer
20, 2008 LA TIMES
Jonah Lehrer, age twenty-five, is
editor at large for Seed magazine. A graduate of Columbia
University and a Rhodes scholar, Lehrer has worked in the lab of
Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel and studied with
Hermione Lee at Oxford. He has co-authored a peer-reviewed paper in
Genetics and worked as a line cook at Melisse (in Los Angeles) and
at Le Cirque 2000, and as a prep cook at Le Bernardin. As a
journalist he has profiled Brian Greene and Elizabeth Gould, spent
several days in the kitchen of the Fat Duck, and recorded bird songs
and ruminated on Stravinsky for National Public Radio. He has
written for Nature, NPR, NOVA, ScienceNow, and the MIT Technology
Review, and writes a highly regarded blog known as the Frontal
Art, Science & Truth: Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer in "Proust was a
Neuroscientist" makes the case for artists (Walt Whitman, Igor
Stravinsky, George Eliot, Paul Cezanne et al.) as the real pioneers
in grasping and revealing how our minds actually work.
this “Wired” Interview.
Editor's note: Those of us who
read good novels may well agree with Lehrer's thesis. The poetry and
creativity of Religion could perhaps be considered in a similar
Opening the Stephen Box
of the traditional churches rule out psychic research, some encourage
it. But there seems to be a taboo against examining
communications through spiritual mediums. But with the ever
growing mass of TV viewers of psychic programmes this taboo may lessen.
It is the view of this journal that such programmes help us to
underline the reality of Spirit, and convince us that we participate in
Long and wide eternity from
side to side
Lead me through the rapids, guide me to the
There’s a place that’s far beyond this time
When each of us comes face to face with something
If I open up the channel will you send me information
you tune me to your station I’ll receive
If I navigate
the river would you take me to your island
Sing a siren song
so I could never leave
Alan Parsons, Siren Song
It’s been about two years
now since I read The
Stephen Experience, and in that time I’ve collected a
whole bunch of similar documents in the after-life communication,
near-death-experience and ‘inspired writing’
spectrum. I think it’s time to try to somehow put the
pieces together, such as they are.
I grew up in a non-denominational
fundamentalist Pentecostal church which had withdrawn largely
from society and had a fairly standard-for-the-milieu view of an
approaching End Times, though we were vague on the details.
(That’s an oversimplification, because there were a lot of
interesting spiritual influences on my life which I keep
rediscovering, but it will do for now.)
The Pentecostal faith cluster is
not at all the same thing as ‘fundamentalism’, which
is usually narrowly defined by a baffled and uncomprehending
secular world as a sort of rigid rejection of modernity. Read
the whole article
The Majesty and Misery of String
Fact or Science Fiction (Linked to “Metanexus”)
By Glenn Statile
great crooner, if not exactly a great scholar, named Frank Sinatra
once sang that he had the whole world upon a string. And as we all
know song lyrics can sometimes paint a rather accurate picture of
real life, while at other times they venture into altogether
imaginative and existentially uncharted territory. Adopting a
perhaps excessively critical attitude it is still by no means unfair
to say that string theory1 is a theory en route to nowhere. It is a
theory which, at its best, could conceivably capture the essence of
material reality at its deepest level; or, at its worst, might be
nothing more than an overblown tale with an overly complicated
mathematical storyline. It is thought by many to represent a
colossal attempt to trade atomism in for a theoretical framework
involving multiple dimensions and vibrating Planck length pieces of
primal string which supersede point particles as the basic building
blocks of nature. String cognoscenti might also note that in recent
years their theory has been enveloped within an even more extensive
Read the article
Some first-rate blogs
is a method, not a position
Photography and blog by Matthew Cromer
Observations and experiments casting
doubt on the model of reductionistic materialism
This blog is not being added to but
is most valuable for the links it provides.
A telling indictment of modern philosophy “The
modern philosophers are in truth antiphilosophers, and they teach
curious young minds to stop thinking
Prescott's blog is always
worth reading: This entry links connects to an examination of
upwards of 1000 short musical composition of Rosemary
Brown supposedly dictated to
her by the spirits of Liszt, Schumann and others. Read
Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations of an Integral Science of
Quantum, Cosmos and Consciousness, Ervin Laszlo
Having been through the New Age trip, I have become very skeptical
of pseudo-scientific writers misrepresenting science to back up
their crack-pot ideas on spirituality. This book is the real deal.
Ervin Laszlo has an impeccable scientific background and really
understands the science he writes about. The book was published in
2003 and I am now starting to read his 2006 Science and the
Re-enchantment of the Cosmos, so his information is up to date. He
always cites the most reputable sources and creates a fascinating
read showing how all life is connected.
A key concept in the book is quantum coherence; the tendency of
sub-atomic particles to be linked together, or entangled, once they
have interacted. Once two particles have interacted they are forever
linked and changes in the state of one is virtually instantaneously
copied by a change in state of the other irrespective of where the
two particles are. Laszlo claims that this coherence not only occurs
at the quantum level, but also at the macroscopic level of stars and
galaxies. There is a large scale uniformity extending to galaxies
that are not in contact with each other since they receded at speeds
beyond the speed of light. Laszlo also points out the fine tuning of
universal constant. These are universal numbers measured in various
realms; the magnetic, gravitational electric etc. It turns out that
if these numbers were even changed by one billionth, the whole
universe we live in could not exist. He posits that it is all held
together by coherence and explains this by saying the big bang and
big crunch to come are only part of on-going macroscopic cycles as
described by ancient Hindu mythology.
László (born 1932 in Budapest, Hungary) is a Hungarian
philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, and
classical pianist. He has published about 75 books and over 400
papers, and is editor of World Futures: The Journal of General
Evolution.. Moreover, he has recorded several piano concertos.
In 1993, in response to his experience with the Club of Rome, he
founded the Club of Budapest to, in his words, "center
attention on the evolution of human values and consciousness as the
crucial factors in changing course — from a race toward
degradation, polarization, and disaster to a rethinking of values
and priorities so as to navigate today's transformation in the
direction of humanism, ethics, and global sustainability".
His 2004 book, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory
of Everything posits a field of information as the substance of the
cosmos. Using the Sanskrit and Vedic term for "space",
Akasha, he calls this information field the "Akashic field"
or "A-field". He posits that the "quantum vacuum"
(see Vacuum state) is the fundamental energy and
information-carrying field that informs not just the current
universe, but all universes past and present (collectively, the
"Metaverse"). László describes how such an
informational field can explain why our universe is so improbably
fine-tuned as to form galaxies and conscious lifeforms; and why
evolution is an informed, not random, process. He believes that the
hypothesis solves several problems that emerge from quantum physics,
especially nonlocality and quantum entanglement. He also sees his
hypothesis as solving the perennial disputes between science and
of Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons
By Varadaraja V Raman
Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great. Twelve Books, Hachette Book
Group, 2007. 307 pages, $24.99
Review: The New Dispensation
Nate Cull January
The New Dispensation,
As Presented by THE SPIRIT WORLD Through the Automatic
Writings of FRANCES BIRD
Sometimes I have to pinch myself
to remind that I am actually awake.
I have been collecting a small
pile of ‘interesting’ spiritual books in the last
couple of years, which are fitting together in a rather startling
way. This is one of them. (I’m now reading a 2002 book by
Mary - yes, the Mary, as far as I can tell, or at least a very
similar Mary to the Mary of Medjugorje - which is even more
exciting, but I’ll write that one up when I’m done).
Frances Bird is a lady I have
been able to find little about on the Internet, which in itself
is surprising. There seem to be a set of four fairly large books
written by her, of which The New Dispensation is one; I found it
in the New Age section of a local second-hand bookstore
the rest of the review
San Fransisco Chronicle
Supernatural studies in the material world
Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
One doesn't typically get the chills during a PowerPoint presentation
in a well-heated conference room. But ghost stories were the hot topic
at a two-day event in San Francisco's Cowell Theater billed as the
first scientific conference on the afterlife for a general audience.
Take, for example, a tale spun by "Professor Paranormal" Loyd Auerbach,
a former teacher in the now-closed parapsychology department of
Pleasant Hill's John F. Kennedy University, about a ghost named Lois.
The story is set in the mid-'80s, when a family moved to an old
Victorian house in Livermore. Soon after settling in, they became aware
of a ghost named Lois, the former owner of the house, who was
developing a relationship with the 12-year-old son. The boy told his
family that he spoke to Lois daily. "Apparently," Auerbach said, "Lois
even helped him with his homework."
Auerbach was intrigued. He and two students piled into a car with some
rudimentary recording equipment and headed to Livermore, casually
discussing stuff like one student's former dance career and Auerbach's
thoughts on purchasing a new car. When they got to the house, they met
the boy. He said Lois was distressed. They had just watched
"Ghostbusters" on television together, and she was worried they'd bring
equipment to vaporize her. Auerbach assured him this wasn't the case.
Well, the boy said, then Lois wants to know whether the student would
continue dancing and what color car Auerbach wanted. They were floored.
Auerbach said he checked the tape - the three didn't mention anything
they had discussed in the car with the boy. He also checked the car for
bugs. Nothing. The story, from Lois, was that she had been nervous
about their visit and didn't believe they wouldn't try to hurt her, so
she rode with them in the car. Auerbach and his team also investigated
details of Lois' life relayed by the preteen. It all checked out.
Auerbach holds a master's degree in parapsychology, has written seven
books on the subject and has been a fixture on the paranormal lecture
and television circuits for more than a decade. He - and several other
speakers at the conference, titled Investigations of Consciousness and
the Unseen World: Proof of an Afterlife - exist in a strange
professional realm that encompasses rigorous academic training,
spiritualism and sometimes fraud.
But the other academics at the conference didn't lack for degrees.
There was Dean Radin, who began his career in electrical engineering
and cybernetics at the University of Illinois before moving on to
psychic phenomena at the University of Edinburgh, Princeton University
and the University of Nevada. Also represented were Gary E. Schwartz, a
Harvard-educated, former Yale professor who now teaches psychiatry,
psychology, medicine, neurology and surgery at the University of
Arizona, and University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies
researchers Dr. Jim Tucker and Dr. Bruce Greyson.
These academics take their paranormal work seriously; they also risk
ridicule on campus and struggle to find sources of funding to
investigate what happens after we die. One of the issues they face is
whether an afterlife is provable by scientific method. Some, like Julie
Beischel, who co-founded Arizona's Windbridge Institute for Applied
Research in Human Potential, think it is.
"This is how science works," Beischel said. "There's a question and
science investigates it. You can't draw a line and say, no, that's
outside of science. Science doesn't have any boundaries in what it can
The mood at the death-centered event was anything but grim. Between
presentations the 170 or so attendees chatted in the small foyer of
Fort Mason's Cowell Theater. The crowd displayed certain Northern
Californian traits - purple was a favorite color, scarves and cloaks
abounded, and at least one person addressed the conference topic
sartorially, with a sweatshirt that proclaimed, "I've Had A Difficult
Few Past Lives."
For all the hugs and smiles and the scientifically coded words and
acronyms - "NDE" means "near death experience" and "OOB" stands for
"out-of-body experience" - many people had a simple reason for
The Forever Family Foundation, the New York nonprofit that sponsored
the conference and that promotes scientific inquiry into the afterlife,
was started by grief-stricken parents, Bob and Phran Ginsberg, whose
15-year-old daughter, Bailey, died in 2002. Bob Ginsberg, who works in
the insurance business, said that until his daughter's death he never
contemplated the paranormal or the possibility of an afterlife.
"The morning of Sept. 2, 2002, Phran woke me up at 3 or 4 o'clock in
the morning. She was white as a ghost, and said, 'Something horrible is
going to happen today,' " Ginsberg said in a phone conversation from
his home in Oceanside, N.Y. "Long story short, my son and daughter were
in a car accident that night, and my daughter passed away.
"Months later, when the shock wears off, I wondered, 'What happened?
Was that precognition? Someone sending a message?' At the time I wasn't
open to such talk, but logically how do you explain it?
"I needed evidence. I needed to hear from scientists and researchers." His foundation now has 3,000 members.
Forever Family Foundation member Diane Kaspari of Portola Valley
attended the conference with her husband, Bill. They lost their son in
a car crash when he was in college. After that happened, she said she
started researching, reading and paying attention to "lots of things
that weren't pure coincidence."
"The night he died, I was crying terribly. I lay down and thought,
'Where are you?' " she remembered, "and then I felt this incredible
warmth, and I heard him - it wasn't an actual voice, but a telepathic
one - say, 'It's OK, Mom, it's no big deal. I'm still here.' It was so
perfect. That's exactly how he talked."
Scientists being scientists, no one stated outright at the conference
that an afterlife had been proved, and no one seemed interested in
espousing any particular vision of it. Religious views were never
The conference topics - from ghosts, to near-death experiences, to an
especially interesting presentation on reincarnation reports from
children - were designed to explore the disconnect between the "mind"
and the "brain." If one could be shown to operate without the other,
such as a brain-dead person who was resuscitated and then offered
details of a hospital scene or a particularly well-documented
reincarnation - then a case could be made for consciousness existing
outside of the physical body.
Greyson, director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the
University of Virginia's department of psychiatric medicine, related a
case where a patient was put under anesthesia for brain surgery and the
brain drained of blood to the point where no brain waves were
detectable. After the operation, the patient reported on aspects of the
surgery in impossible detail.
In another case, Greyson said a patient whose heart stopped beating
claimed to have an out-of-body experience while technically dead. The
patient said while floating above the hospital, she saw a red shoe on a
ledge of the hospital building, far from the room. Sure enough, a nurse
recovered a red shoe from the unlikely spot.
But for as much anecdotal evidence and data as the presenters gave,
there was recognition that believing in the paranormal is difficult
without a direct experience.
"I feel sorry for the skeptics," said Kaspari. "They're the ones who've already made up their mind."
E-mail Reyhan Harmanci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle