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.
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.
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 ]