In a recent post on Huffington Post, Dave Pruett, who is a regular contributor to the Huff blog on religion, elevates a certain document about science to the rank of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses about religion. I’m not going to say anything about Dave Pruett’s posts, although they do require attention, which I will give to them in due course. The purpose of this post is to start to look at the document critically. So, stay tuned for the sequels!
The document is called “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science.” It is the end product of a summit organized by two psychologists and a psychologist/neuroscientist. Four of the remaining five participants have doctoral degrees in psychology, medicine, psychiatry, and social anthropology. The only participating natural scientist is Rupert Sheldrake, the inventor of the non-material morphic resonance.
You would think that a manifesto on science should have the contribution of at least one physicist or chemist. Actually, the organizers invited a (fringe) physicist and some other scholars. However,
“Unfortunately, a week prior to the Summit, Dr. Henry Stapp (a distinguished physicist) had to cancel for personal reasons. Then, two days before the Summit, Dr. Pim van Lommel (a distinguished cardiologist), had to cancel because his wife was just diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Finally, a day before the Summit, Dr. Julio Peres had to cancel due to unforeseen issues with his visa.”
For those of you who don’t know Henry Stapp, his philosophy has been described as a form of panpsychism. He has co-authored papers with Jeffrey M. Schwartz, who has connected the work of Stapp with the concept of “mental force” and spiritual practices of Buddhism. So even for a fringe physicist, with inclinations toward universal spirit, the manifesto was too much and he had to cancel the invitation “for personal reasons”!
Two of the organizers are faculty members of the department of psychology at the University of Arizona. They are also associated with Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health, whose mission is “to creatively and responsibly apply mainstream scientific methods to frontier questions in consciousness and health.” What exactly are their “mainstream scientific methods?”
When you click on the publication tab on the left, under the heading “published articles” (as of 24 January 2015) you see the promise of “list added soon …”!
Under the heading “books,” you see four books by Gary Schwartz published between 2003 and 2011. The Afterlife Experiments has a foreword by Deepak Chopra, and The Sacred Promise has a foreword by John Edward, the famous psychic and TV personality!