So far the presentations are in three parts:

Part One of the slides is based on five Power Point lectures on Irreducible Mind,  a landmark survey of the history of psychology and psychic research in the past 150 years; briefly, it falsifies the proposition that mind/spirit/consciousness is nothing but electrochemical processes in the brain.
Part Two owes its structure to an excellent popular presentation of  what science has established about the nature of the spiritual dimension of things, by Dr Craig Hogan, Your Eternal Self.  He has generously allowed us to use his material in any way we wish, as also has Dr Victor Zammit whose The Evidence for the Afterlife is also widely known.
Part Three will  take its cue from William James' Varieties of Religious Experience. and will invite students to consider actual experience of the Divine, approaching the I-Thou rather than I-Itness of things.
Most slides will contain several links to illustrations, questions, puzzles, music, YouTube presentations,  teacher's reference material, self-testing and so on.
The material can be issued as a CD ROM; be simplified for high school use, and added to for use in theological training.
Work is not so far advanced, just yet. If you would like to help in the production of this material in any way, trying out materials, suggesting, correcting, contributing, test driving...  we would be most grateful.  Just write to the editor,  and we can perhaps send you the CD  ROM when our work is further advanced.

If you would like to be involved in this project, you might like to read on to get a idea of what those at present working on it, are thinking.

On this publication day (May 3, 2009) I received this email from our Assistant Editor, Nate Cull.  I quote a couple of paragraphs - 

"Tinkering with my version of the course... here's where I've started.
Trying to get a handle on a rough outline so I can put it in my head. No
idea how much material there is for each of these ten categories, but
these are roughly the areas I'd like to be able to talk to. Not necessarily in this order:

     * Philosophical Foundations of Non-Materialism: materialism,        mentalism, dualism
     * ESP and Parapsychology : scientific studies of non-material
       reality
     * Near-Death Experiences: glimpses of the life beyond
     * Mysticism: direct personal spiritual experience
     * After-Life Communication: mediumship, channeling, automatic
       writing
     * Visions and Apparitions: saints, stigmata, and religious
       miracles
     * Faith Healing: beyond the placebo effect
     * Dreams and Synchronicity: "coincidences" that aren't
     * Pentecostal/Charismatic Phenomena: speaking in tongues, words of  knowledge, "falling in the spirit"
     * What it all Means: living in awareness of spirit

Mysticism, Apparitions and Pentecostal/Charismatic Phenomena are the
bits which I think we don't have, and  are probably the most problematic but
covered very well at the moment and I suppose they're the subjects I
find most interesting... Apparitions crosses over with After-Life
Communication ... but I'm thinking particularly of things like Marian apparitions." [End of quote from the email.]

How wide ranging should our studies be?

Irreducible Mind covers a wide field. We could concentrate on those areas that directly illuminate the world of Christianity, helping us to distinguish the true from the less true. Of course Christians, if they are also to be good scientists, may no more limit the scope of science than do the materialists. We could say that the universe itself is the true boundary of Spirit. But we have to focus somehow.

We should also be quite clear about the role of science and the role of Christianity. Christianity deals with the actual living in love and Spirit. Science is an impersonal and hopefully objective study. Compare the study of the physics of sound, and the experience of listening to great music.

In what kind of framework can we present paranormal science... perhaps "the Psychology for the 21 century"?

*We need to think carefully about this question. Firstly we need to consider who our students may be: their age, their academic background, their belief systems, their culture. These considerations will have weight in our thinking.

*Then we will need to be clear where we ourselves stand.

*Then we will need to be very clear where the people stand who seek to provide us with resources. The writer is unaware of any resource material designed for candidates for the ministry, or senior pupils of church schools.

*The people who produced Irreducible Mind were members of the Esalen Institute. The authors are not attempting to create a philosophy, but rather by studying a wide field assembling evidence that falsifies the Materialist hypothesis, and establishing the likelihood of a non-material dimension to reality. They seem to be thoroughly trustworthy in the field in which they are working. They are not directly investigating religion and spirituality.


Resources for theological education

Irreducible Mind (this incidentally refutes the Materialist interpretation of consciousness and mind)

Your Eternal Self

Parapsychology and the Skeptics

The Ground of Faith e-journal can provide access to limitless case histories for the purpose of illustration of what could be studied. A further review http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_2_70/ai_n24386200/

Since our culture is so intensely materialistic, that studies will need to cover a much wider field than that presented by Raymond Moody, or Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross.

What the Bleep!? will seem to many to be an obvious resource. Certain episodes of this film, and from some interviews in the five DVD version, will be useful. But "parental guidance" so to speak will be required with all of it. What the Bleep!? does raise a number of important issues especially the matter of Quantum Mechanics. But I shall be arguing that QM is less important for our studies than many might think.

"What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole" has been suggested.

On closer study of what it has to say about Quantum physics, many hesitations come to mind:

First and foremost, Christianity, and all that might be associate with Spirit and the paranormal, has its roots in human experience, not in science.

Descartes and Newton, on whose work Materialist thinking is based, were mystics and not materialists themselves.

Materialism notwithstanding, we have the phenomena of the spiritual revivals such as Methodism, the Evangelical revival, the spread of Christianity in many countries in the 1800s, the Charismatic movement, and the development of New Age thinking, the spread of Eastern religions and philosophies.

In spite of Materialism, there is continuing increase in the numbers of those who accept that there is an afterlife, and those who report spiritual experiences.

"What the Bleep!?" seems to think that QM somehow proves the spiritual.

But basically, QM is a mathematics, subject to Materialist and non-Materialist interpretations.

"Non-locality" with regard to packets of energy certainly parallels the non-locality of Spirit, but does not prove Spirit.

There is no 1 : 1 relationship between energy particles as QM conceives them and conscious experience. There may indeed be quantum events in the brain, but they cannot be the ground of conscious experience.. otherwise how can we have OBEs and NDEs, dreams and intuitions of future events, distance seeing, telepathy and other paranormal phenomena that plainly do not involve electromagnetic or radio communication.

Ken Wilber points out that the pioneers of QM themselves do not claim that QM proves Spirit. Rather by faith, they tend to be Platonists, seeing their mathematics as representations of Ideal Forms "laid up in heaven". Ken Wilber named Einstein, Heisenberg, Pauli, Eddington and others such as Bohm as Platonists. The fact of the importance of the Observer in measurements has inspired many physicists to be interested in paranormal phenomena, and in consciousness itself. But QM in itself proves none of these phenomena.

To attempt to identify mind and consciousness with various kinds of quantum events would in fact be a reversion to Materialism, and would be an assertion that the paranormal phenomena are not real.

We might reasonably assume that the world of Spirit operates on lawful principles, and that it might be possible to develop a physics of the Spiritual that attempts to explain the interaction between Reality in the Spirit mode and Reality as described by QM.. or any other physical reality. There have indeed been attempts to develop such a physics of the Spirit.

Irreducible Mind is on much sounder ground, where it makes its case against Materialism and for the paranormal by being so multifaceted and scholarly in its investigation, and doesnt begin to attempt to make a cult out of any particular scientific approach.

[Other Problems with What the Bleep ]