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Spirituality and Science: Broadband Spirituality for the 21st Century

Posted May 8, 2012 by drdonw in Open

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commented on March 22, 2014
by Jim Centi

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55

I recently gave a talk at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi on Broadband Spirituality for the 21st Century. I discussed Roger Nelson’s research on random number generators, Rene Peoch’s studies with chickens, robots, and random number generators; William Tiller’s research on subtle energy, Godel’s theorem, Bekenstein’s bound, remote viewing, quantum entanglement, and Bierman’s research that showed a response to stimuli before they were presented. My talk was very well received by a diverse group including humanists, atheists, Buddhists, and scientists.

My purpose in sharing these studies was to help people realize that the world we live in is deeply interconnected and is much different than most people’s notion of physical reality. If you would like to listen to the twenty minute talk, here is a link to it, as well as a link to a book I have written called Upgrading the Operating System of the Soul: A Manual of Quantum Sufism. My book was reviewed by William Tiller, Ph.D., professor emeritus from Stanford University and has a foreword by Pir Vilayat.

http://www.issseemblog.org/?p=1778

I am interested in starting a discussion thread with people who are interested in spirituality and science.

  • 55 Comments  
  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Mar 22, 2014

    Sorry,

    My previous comment should have been posted to Definitive Atheism.

    I will re post it in that topic.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Mar 22, 2014

    dustinthewind,

    With respect, I would like to respond to your comment.

    Dustproduction began spamming topics related to spirituality long before I referred to him as an atheist.

    Please refer to the following link:

    http://noetic.org/discussions/open/333/#comment_6290

    The author of this topic is PhD Pc Donald E Weiner, respected author and lecturer on Science and Spirituality. He posted to Discussions with the username drdonw.

    Dustproduction spammed Dr. Weiner’s topic with questions such as:

    Define "soul."
    What is it the soul does for us?
    How does science find the soul?

    In addition to such questions, dustproduction’s many comments were so disruptive that, in my opinion, Dr. Weiner made an amiable excuse, stopped posting and never returned to the IONS website.

    I am considering asking Dr. Weiner to post another topic.

    A copy of this comment is being sent to Michelle Riddle with the request that if Dr. Weiner agrees to post another topic and someone intentionally disrupts his new topic as was done previously, they be permanently barred from Discussions.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw Jun 01, 2012

    I have been away from this discussion for a while because I have been working on finishing a book that my wife Diane and I have just self-published. The book is called The Gabrielite Work - Broadband Spirituality for the 21st Century. If you are interested in getting a copy, let me know and I will send you details on how to order it. I think the book will be relevant to people with an interest in spirituality and science.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 28, 2012

    ""The only way to reconcile science and religion is to create something which isn't science or something which isn't religion."

    ????

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 28, 2012

    dustproduction,

    We are posting to the IONS website. IONS is highly spiritual, but it is definitely not religious.

    Your inability to acknowledge the difference between religion and spirituality may be the reason your posts are frequently off center, argumentative and the reason people do not generally respond to your comments.

    I will not discuss this matter with you.

  • slowlygetnthar May 28, 2012


    You're right, Jim, there is a big difference between spirituality & religion. Basically, my spirituality cannot be contained in any one religion. I do like to take teachings from all of them and plenty of the non-religious who were shining spirits.

    Reading Mencken & Twain, I was reflecting on how little the dialogue has changed in the last hundred+plus years regarding this tension between the spiritual world and the scientific. Certainly, we know more in both realms, since ever-increasing amounts of info are availble to us. Only a few folks have ventured to find the places where the two intersect. They wind up being iconoclasts in their scientific circles and quite frankly, in spiritual circles, I often find people radically uninformed about science~~like a student who tried to nullify the theory of human evolution based on gaps in fossil bird records. There is this dysjunct. I think it can be bridged, but there seems to be resistance from both sides.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 28, 2012

    "Courts in the America have refused to acknowledge any substantive difference between “religion” and “spirituality,” concluding that “spiritual” programs are so much like religions that it would violate the separation of church and state to force people to attend them (as with Alcoholics Anonymous, for example). The religious beliefs of these “spiritual” groups do not necessarily lead people to the same conclusions as organized religions, but that doesn’t make them less religious."

    "This is not to say that there is nothing at all valid in the concept of spirituality — just that the distinction between spirituality and religion in general is not valid. Spirituality is a form of religion, but a private and personal form of religion." Austin Cline

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 28, 2012

    One principal problem with attempts to separate religion from spirituality is that the former is saddled with everything negative while the latter is exalted with everything positive. This is a totally self-serving way of approaching the issue and something you only hear from those who describe themselves as “spiritual.” You never hear a self-professed religious person offer such definitions and it's disrespectful to religious people to suggest that they would remain in a system with no positive characteristics whatsoever.

    Another problem with attempts to separate religion from spirituality is the curious fact that we don’t see it outside America: people in Europe either religious or irreligious. Americans have this third category called “spiritual”? Is it rather that “distinction” is really just a product of American culture?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 28, 2012

    The topic is Spirituality and Science; not religion and science. The distinction between spirituality and religion should be recognized.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 27, 2012

    Mencken was "a keen cheerleader of scientific progress" and "as a fervent nonbeliever the very notion of a Deity." So one must wonder about the context of a quote about science and religion.

    " The scientist who yields anything to theology, however slight, is yielding to ignorance and false pretenses, and as certainly as if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake."

    "The time must come inevitably when mankind shall surmount the imbecility of religion, as it has surmounted the imbecility of religion's ally, magic. It is impossible to imagine this world being really civilized so long as so much nonsense survives. In even its highest forms religion embraces concepts that run counter to all common sense. It can be defended only by making assumptions and adopting rules of logic that are never heard of in any other field of human thinking."

  • slowlygetnthar May 27, 2012

    drdonw,
    Was just thinking of this thread and ran across some HL Mencken quotes that seemed appropriate:

    "The only way to reconcile science and religion is to create something which isn't science or something which isn't religion."

    ..When I read that, I had to stop and consider what does he mean by this? He also wrote some ones I cannot put here without severe editing to avoid offending someone.

    This one needs no editing, though:

    "Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops."
    — Minority Report, 1956.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 15, 2012

    Religion & Science:

    http://www.accuracyingenesis.com/index.html

  • slowlygetnthar May 14, 2012


    Otay, Jim, I recalled reading more, but couldn't recall where. Will pick it up there.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 14, 2012

    RE: "... it's a good idea to let ideas "hatch" for a while before responding to other's comments."

    I have searched the website and found few basic rules that address these discussions.
    Since the discussion posted here are in fact the property of IONS, the discussion is not personal, nor is it a debate, an argument, or a competition. Directions from others to others are therefore merely suggestion. All are free to ignore want they wish, and contribute what they wish, as they will. This need not be viewed as rude or improper since it does not violate any agreement with IONS.


  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 14, 2012

    Slowlygetnthar,

    Apparently you missed my post to INCA-ANDEAN ENCOUNTER etc ON MAY 5 which explained my position on free will in a comprehensive manner.

    My position has not changed because of drdonw’s response to me. To change my perspective would require elaboration on the expanded reality which he referred to.

    I am attempting to reduce my posting to this topic as drdonw has suggested. If you wish to discuss this further go to the INCA-ANDEAN etc. topic......Jim

  • slowlygetnthar May 14, 2012


    Hi Jim,
    I was wondering if you could explain a little further your stopping point at free will~~? I am trying to understand where you are with this.

    DrdonW~~ lovely talk. I really enjoyed listening to it. I like that robot a lot more, knowing it spent more time with the chicks!

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 14, 2012


    We still need to examine the mind, conscious, and the self, and their relationships to each other if we are to understand spirituality in a scientific way.
    Christianity seems to resists this marriage, while Buddhism welcomes it. Buddhism and science have increasingly been discussed as compatible, and Buddhism has entered into the science and religion dialogue.[Yong 2005] S.N. Goenka describes Buddhadharma as a 'pure science of mind and matter'. Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God" ( Zarruq, Istrabadi, Hanson 2008), but is this really science?

    We know the brain has the predisposition to explain what it does not understand, and belief is this easy way to understanding.
    We also know that we all have a bias toward our conditioning.
    Intellectually, we are all mental overweight, out of shape, and lazy. This is why science is dismissed, its is difficult.
    We seek to castoff our pass conditioning in search of something more, and bring with us our lazy untrained minds.
    And so it is easiest to trade old beliefs for new beliefs.
    We ignore and think ourselves better.
    We say we're focus inward and blame ours for not leading
    We've learn nothing.

    If you want to study Islam and Sufism listening to lectures on Youtube by Shaykh Hussein Abdul Sattar, Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi, Shaykh Nazim, Dr Tahir ul Quadri, Dr Allama Iqbal. For Sufis “Enlightenment” is an experience to become aware of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things, to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self, and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality.

    But reading reading Einstein will tell you that matter is energy. Antonio Damasio might give you the same understanding of self.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 13, 2012


    Immersive Virtual Worlds is applicable research into measuring the "illusion" and the ways the brain interacts, much like biofeedback.

    http://business.treet.tv/shows/bpeducation/episodes/bpe2011-048

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 13, 2012

    If there are others who have been following this discussion thread but who have not posted comments, please join in. Currently we seem to only have two others besides me who are participating. Also, it's a good idea to let ideas "hatch" for a while before responding to other's comments. If there are too many comments from one person, a new person may feel intimidated about joining the group.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 13, 2012

    RE: " the purpose of this topic "

    drdonw: "I am interested in starting a discussion thread with people who are interested in spirituality and science."
    such as: " Roger Nelson’s research on random number generators, Rene Peoch’s studies with chickens, robots, and random number generators; William Tiller’s research on subtle energy, Godel’s theorem, Bekenstein’s bound, remote viewing, quantum entanglement, and Bierman’s research that showed a response to stimuli before they were presented."

    drdonw: " ...it is my hope and desire that in this discussion thread we will explore ways that science and spirituality each have things of great value to offer to the other, particularly ways to help people discover how to free themselves from their usual conditioned vantage points and conceptions."

    To wit the material offered addresses "conditioned vantage points."

    Does Prof. Conte's work not speak to a science that would help people discover how to free themselves from current orientations?



  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 13, 2012

    When we are in the usual state of most people which is one in which our vantage point is largely determined by our conditioning, then the scope of free will is very limited. We are typically functioning in a very collapsed (and distorted) subset of a much larger reality in which we exist. Awakening, by whatever means from whichever spiritual tradition or other methodology to free our consciousness from our conditioning, enables us to live in a reality with many more degrees of freedom. In that expanded reality there is truly what we think of as free will. The problem with most of the theories and research methodologies to try to understand the phenomena of consciousness is that they almost always are based on making sense of a deeply interconnected reality by means of a dualistic theory and means of understanding reality. This quest is futile and leads to paradoxes and contradictions. It's like the story of the blind men trying to understand what an elephant is, or the inhabitants of Flatland trying to understand what a sphere is.

    I think that the only way there will ever be fundamental changes in the problems that have plagued humanity for centuries is when enough people have awakened to a higher state of consciousness and through a collaboration of those vantage points, new insights will emerge that may never have been arrived at from well meaning people operating from their conditioned vantage points.

    Regarding your question about humor, there was a wonderful book written by a psychologist called The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 13, 2012

    RE: "we will be required to ignore"

    WE?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 13, 2012

    drdonw,

    Within the past few months I have been captivated by the notion being promoted in quantum physics and certain spiritual traditions that the material world is illusion.

    Adding to this I have also been influenced by the information coming out in neuroscience and biology that free will is illusion.

    My response to this information may be inappropriate, but I have begun to see our plight on the physical plane as somewhat futile and have begun to see humor in just about everything.

    Could you comment on the value or inappropriateness of my state of mind?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 13, 2012

    Apparently subtle and not so subtle suggestions as to the purpose of this topic can be ignored by a poster insistent on posting tangential material and directing the course of this topic. If our intention is to have this topic flow according to its purpose, it seems we will be required to ignore the posting of such tangential material.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 13, 2012

    This is the "science" you might be looking for but can you but comprehending ing is quite another matter.
    Receiver from Prof. Elio Conte via email to the Chaopych.list

    Quantum Mechanics! Why do we continue to think about so intriguing theory in a so old manner!
    It is certainly true that it is applied to atoms , to atomic nuclei , to elementary particles . However, it is not here the question. The probelm is about its foundations. Again. It may be totally derived from a simple algebraic formulation. It is called the Clifford algebra. But still this is not the central question.
    About 1935 von Neumann demonstrated that logic may be derived from quantum mechanics. Following the previous way indicated by Orlov I have demonstrated the LOGICAL ORIGINS of quantum mechanics. This is to say that we have given proof of the inverse question: quantum mechanics derives from logic.
    If one use well known interference of quantum mechanics and demonstrates that such conclusions may be obtained not using particles at atomic or subatomic level but logical statements , are we showing about the LOGICAL ORIGINS of quantum mechanics, or not?
    If someone gives a look at our site www.saistmp.com finds a lot of results that move all in the same direction. Quantum mechanics indicates that thare are stages of our reality in which we NO MORE are in the condition to SEPARATE "matter per se" from cognition that we , as human beings, have about it. There is a dated article of Wheler entitled It from Bit. There is another article of David Deutsch entitled It from Qubit that in my ipinion links directly to my previous quoted Clifford algebraic formulation. It will appear on Neuroquatology.Still. I have given proof that the well known von Neumann postulates on quantum measurement ( psi collapse) are not postulates but we give mathematical demonstration.
    So! Quantum mechanics enters on not , with strong support, in the cognition and thus in the scheme of the cognitive sciences! If it is so... how may we continue to debate about strong separations! Quantum mechanics is a quantum model at cognitive level and thus this discipline enters strongly in psychology.
    There is also a lot of experimental results that we have obtained on this matter. We have obtained QUANTUM INTEREFRENCE by human subjects with experiments at perceptive-cognitive level. Therefore must we continue to ignore such evidences?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 12, 2012


    Re: Awakeness

    In the new book on consciousness by Antonio Damasio, "Self Comes to Mind: constructing the consciousness brain" consciousness is viewed as a process of intensity and scope, with mercurial fluctuations. I suspect "awakeness" is this way as well. The tendency is to objectify it with language, making it seem like a switch with on/off positions. The metaphor might be more of a dimmer switch.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 12, 2012

    This anecdote is mentioned in the talk.

    But the scientist has a point. Beliefs are our narrative and our schema resists new information. So we resist learning what is too different.
    I would offer that the way "to help them discover other ways to view their situation" is similar to what is called "back propagation" in neur networks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG5-UyRBQD4

    There are a series of excellent discussions at "To The Best of Our Knowledge" titled "Stories of You." They explore the notion that "If we are only a collection of stories about ourselves... what's the truth of who "we" are? " The discussions are both surprising and enlightening.

    http://ttbook.org/book/story-you

    The interview with Julian Keenan, neuroscientist and researcher, in the field of self deception, titled "You & Your Brain" raises two interesting points for me.

    1. @ 9:12 "We use to think that people with clinical depression didn't see the world realistically they saw it in an overly negative light. Well, it turns out that they're seeing it quite realistically" and it is others that are seeing it in an overly rosy light. Others are the ones not in reality

    2. @ 9:33 "So the purpose of therapy is to learn to be better at lying" (to ones self, for the purpose of fitting in with society)?
    The response by Keenan is " Absolutely!"
    Before this point in the interview Keenan says we are always "molding reality not so that it is real, but it is palatable".

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 12, 2012

    Dr Don,
    Thank you for your response.

    Several years ago I lived in California and enjoyed a small group of friends who were awake, but we did not hold our awareness within the context of Sufism.

    Since moving back east, my life seems to be devoted to singing lullabies. After your last comment I emailed the Sufi movement in USA to determine if there was a group in my area.

    I want you to know how much I appreciate this topic and hope we can maintain the purpose for which it is intended.

    Please feel free to dialogue in any area, without only responding to comments……Jim

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 12, 2012

    Good questions about conditioning. I'll start with an anecdote from William Tiller when he was sharing the results of his research on subtle energy with a well known traditional physicist. The other physicist responded, "Even if what your research shows is true, I don't believe it."

    It is not necessary for a person who has achieved a degree of awakening or realization to return to their previous limited vantage point in order to interact with others who operate from a more conditioned frame of reference. There is no point in trying to convince another person that there is much more to reality than what is perceived by the senses unless that person has an interest and an openess to discovering things that don't have to fit into their preconceived assumptions. To me, this is the hallmark of a true scientist. The Sufis have a beautiful way of describing how to relate to others in whatever stage of their journey they are in: "the message is a call to awakening to souls who are stirring in their sleep, and a lullaby for those who need to sleep more."

    Balanced spirituality requires a person to be able to operate from whatever realm of consciousness he/she choose to experience, while at the same time being very much grounded in physical manifestation. This means being able to interact appropriately with all types of people. As a psychologist, it is far more effective for me to understand the world view of clients I am working with an to find a way of connecting with them starting from their frame of reference. My task then is to help them discover other ways to view their situation and problems where there are now more degrees of freedom and possibilities for change and transformation that they did not know were available before.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 12, 2012

    RE: "The majority of Western culture views the world in accordance with the old conditioning".

    Yes, I would be interesting in hearing about this as well since you are in the field of psychology, where conditioning at an early age is a major factor. The issue I raised early about conditional around the acquisition of language is that while we can re-orient ourselves, learn a new language, we do it with an "accent." And there are neurological reasons for this.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 12, 2012

    Dr. Don, in your talk you describe several experiments that may cause us to detach from our old conditioning.

    Like yourself and many you appear to have interacted with, due to a powerful experience of what could be referred to as the mystical realm, I have become somewhat detached from the old conditioning.

    The majority of Western culture views the world in accordance with the old conditioning. When we experience what could be referred to as some degree of detachment from old conditioning; it seems necessary that when interacting with those not free of the old conditioning, that we act as if we are not free from it. Could you comment a bit on this?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 11, 2012

    Tiller: "Consider that we are all spirits having a physical experience as we ride the "river of life" together. Our spiritual parents dressed us in our bio-body suits and put us in this playpen that we call the universe in order to grow in coherence, to develop our gifts of intentionality, and to become what we were originally intended to be -- co-creators with our spiritual parents!"

    To accept this metaphorical premise of Tiller's is to ignore evolution. "While the exact number of early human species is debated, on this page are links to summaries of the early human species accepted by most scientists:
    http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species

    Which of this are our "spiritual" cousins?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 10, 2012

    To inquire after the meaning or object of one's own existence or that of all creatures has always seemed absurd from an objective point of view. And yet everybody has certain ideals which determine the direction of his endeavors and judgments. In this sense I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves - this ethical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed to me empty. The trite objects of human efforts-possessions, outward success, luxury-have always seemed to me contemptible.

    My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude-feelings which increase with the years. One becomes sharply aware, but without regret, of the limits of mutual understanding and consonance with other people. No doubt, such a person loses some of his innocence and unconcern; on the other hand, he is largely independent of the opinions, habits, and judgments of his fellows and avoids the temptation to build his inner equilibrium upon such insecure foundations. (Albert Einstein - Ideas and Opinions, 1954)

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 10, 2012

    Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behaviour of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organisation which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate. If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

  • slowlygetnthar May 10, 2012


    Among N. American Native American tribes, when one has a profound dream, he/she is not allowed to tell it, unless certain rituals are undertaken, and the elders gather to listen and interpret the dream. If the dreamer ignores these protocols, and runs around telling the dream, he/she is seen as boasting and diluting the power of the dream. It is frowned upon.

    When we have mystical experiences, maybe running around yammering on about them dilutes their power, much like telling the dream before the correct audience and interpreters are present. Sharing it, when the time is right, cultivates its power to grow in this reality. Most of us don't know how to be the bridge between the mystical world and this one. That is why there are so many priests, shaman, rabbis, and designated gatekeepers to spiritual ritual and experience.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 10, 2012

    I agree, Jim that when a person has a mystical experience there is a tendency to cling to and try to repeat the experience. At first, when the person recalls their experience or talks to someone else about it, there is still a lot of energy. Gradually, the experience becomes a recollection that has little energy associated with it. When a person is in their ordinary dualistic state of consciousness, it is not possible for them to fully describe or recapture the state they were in. Some people may have one profound mystical experience in their entire life, while others may have several. Some mystical experiences are spontaneous while others are the result of working with intense spiritual practices. I believe that what makes a mystical experience seem so separate and “other worldly” from our ordinary state of consciousness is that we are not used to functioning in a higher state of consciousness. As a result, there is little or no connection between the experience and the usual world we walk around in. If someone pursues an authentic methodology of spiritual practices, it becomes possible for them to function more and more in an expanded state of awareness in which they are both very grounded in dealing with day to day interactions and responsibilities, and at the same time not limited to a dualistic state of consciousness.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 10, 2012

    drdonw,

    This is further to my last comment which quoted Einstein and expressed my belief that he was a mystic.

    From my reading it appears that entering the mystical state, as described by Einstein, can be a onetime event in a person’s life

    I believe that the difficulty in reentering the state may be because following the experience, it is conceptualized or made into a concept i.e. it becomes a concept of an experience rather than an experience.

    I would be interested in your views relative to if it is rare that one enters the experience more than once and if my reason for this may be valid.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 10, 2012

    Here’s another quote by Einstein:

    “Still there are moments when one feels free from one’s own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments, one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable: life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only being”.

    I believe that Einstein was a mystic, blessed with knowledge of science.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 10, 2012

    Here's a wonderful quote from Einstein on science and religion:

    The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
    ( Albert Einstein - The Merging of Spirit and Science)

    In this discussion group, I'm much more interested in our sharing information that leads to this sense of wonder Einstein refers to, rather than our engaging in an analytical or philosophical analysis. There are probably other discussion groups in which that is the intended focus.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 10, 2012

    RE: "that which enables an interface to take place between our manifest self and all of the rest of existence."

    The statement offers less in the way of a clear understanding and more of a tangle of questions has it would seem that having a soul does not guaranty access to the "rest of existence."

    So to offer this explanation, one must also envision a point at which the self connects to the soul: Self>soul> all the rest of existence
    Is the soul within us, or outside of us in your understanding?
    Is it through the brain that we can understand the souls significance to us?
    Where does the soul engage with the physical reality of the self; attaching at conception, detaching at death?

    The this explanation the soul is the essential element on the individual, I take it. And we must take it of faith that there is a purpose for it to reside with us in the physical. And then there are penalties for dispensing with the physical form.
    Additionally it would seem that only very few humans have figured this out in the entire course of humanity.
    Why would that be the case if it is our purpose in this realm?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 10, 2012

    We ask how scientists understand spirituality and its relation to religion and to science. Analyses are based on in-depth interviews with 275 natural and social scientists at 21 top U.S. research universities who were part of the Religion among Academic Scientists survey. We find that this subset of scientists have several distinct conceptual or categorical strategies for framing the connection spirituality has with science. Such distinct framings are instantiated in spiritual beliefs more congruent with science than religion, as manifested in the possibility of spiritual atheism, those who see themselves as spiritual yet do not believe in God or a god. Scientists stress a pursuit of truth that is individualized (but not characterized by therapeutic aims) as well as voluntary engagement both inside and outside the university. Results add complexity to existing thinking about spirituality in contemporary American life, indicating that conceptions of spirituality may be bundled with characteristics of particular master identity statuses such as occupational groups. Such understandings also enrich and inform existing theories of religious change, particularly those related to secularization.

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/scientists-spirituality/

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 10, 2012

    Re: is there a discussion relating to science or spirituality that may cause individuals to be conscious of their negative influence in discussions.
    Jim,
    I suggest viewing the Lotto Lab Cube illusion. It demonstrates that how two squares of the same color can be view differently depending on the context.
    http://www.sibleyguides.com/2010/05/color-illusion-and-thrush-identification/

    So how much of the negativity is in the observer, as in whether the glass is half full or half empty?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 09, 2012

    There are those who are determined to guide the direction of a topic by endless bantering about minor points or introducing tangential material that distracts from the topic. It seems that these individuals are not conscious of how their behavior can ruin a topic. I have seen good topics grind to an end because of it.

    Anticipating that such a problem could occur in this topic; is there a discussion relating to science or spirituality that may cause individuals to be conscious of their negative influence in discussions.

  • slowlygetnthar May 09, 2012


    Going back to what Jim was asking about Sufism...I am reading Hirtenstein's biography about Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi~a Muslim mystic.. One of the ways he expressed the unified nature of things was by seeing everything as an expression of ONE. Even something like the number three is written III in Roman alphabet, thus, simply an expression, again, of ONE ONE ONE.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    While language serves to demonstrate the role conditioning plays, we must also consider the predispositions of the human brain. You mention non-locality so I will return to the savant and the severe corpus callosum.
    Most of what we think, and do, and act, and believe are generated by parts we have no acquaintance with, no access to. These are the secret lives of our brains. (Eagleman 2011) Our conscious mind is the smallest part of what goes on in the brain. Does the knowledge that savants display come from a non-local field or is it a function of the brain we do not share? We do not have the facts.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM1ZmWOAT3A&feature=relmfu

    Further, as Eagleman says in this clip, we are situated between the very big and the very small. This is where we have "self organized."
    No matter where the soul is, we are material structures, with bodies and brains and minds, for as long as we remain in this in-between strip of universe.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    drdonw,
    Perhaps we can agree it is best to let this thread set some common parameters to avoid the need revisit the misconceptions of others. For example, if we work with your definition of what a soul it will preclude the notice held by some that a soul resides within us.
    So lets continue with this idea of how we as physical creates are imbued with the sense on a soul or even if its awareness is necessary.
    Your talk uses language which refers to overcoming conditioning, or what I like to refer to as orienting. From the moment babies are born the nurturing they receive orients them to a material reality. In this way they acquire language, or languages, and models for many other things as well. Developmentally there are windows of opportunity to achieve or receive these models. In the case of language, babies minds are equipped to learn all 100 sounds the made up the worlds language. As they begin to acquire language they also start to case off to the ability to form the sounds they do not use. This is not to say the we cannot learn languages at a late stage of life. It does become increasingly more difficult however as those of us for have tried know, and we are also left speaking it with an accent. (Kuhn 2011)
    So what else is like acquiring a language? Certainly we acquire religion in this manner, we speak english and are oriented in the Judao- Christian traditions, or any other language or faith, for the same reason, because of the accident of birth.

    Reorienting, or losing our accent, once we are oriented is no an easy task.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 09, 2012

    Dustproduction, perhaps we can define the soul as that which enables an interface to take place between our manifest self and all of the rest of existence. Both scientists and mystics believe that there are many levels of reality beyond the usual dimensions of time and space. String theory postulates 10, 11, or more dimensions, and mystics of various traditions speak of subtle realms of existence which are co-present with physical manifestation. The soul is able to operate in different levels of reality to the degree that our vehicles of perception have been awakened and integrated. The soul has been described as being like a mirror which tends to identify with what is reflected on the mirror. For most people, that reflection is limited to the input of the physical senses, and the concepts, and emotions about what is being experienced. Mystics state that consciousness is present when there is an object of consciousness, and that there is what is termed as pure intelligence when there is consciousness without an object. Different spiritual traditions offer techniques that enable a person to awaken their subtle organs of perception.

    Due to limitations of language, it is very challenging for most people to conceive of a way of interrelating with existence that is neither dualistic or a state of merging in the transcendent in which there is no longer any personal identity. I call a state in between duality and transcendence "relational unity." In this state of awareness, the soul is able to free itself from dependence on experiencing through a particular vehicle of perception, but the uniqueness of the individual is always present.

    While we could have a prolonged discussion about the soul and how to define it, it is my hope and desire that in this discussion thread we will explore ways that science and spirituality each have things of great value to offer to the other, particularly ways to help people discover how to free themselves from their usual conditioned vantage points and conceptions.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    If we can't* define.......

    (no edit feature here)

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    If we can define a term what are we discussing? Where is the science?

    Definitions and agreement of terms such as "soul" are extremely important to those that want to engage in a meaningful and productive discussion.
    This may be less apparent to those use to dealing in opinion and conjecture.
    In this case it is not about what I believe, it is about the parameters that can be applied to Dr. W. usage of the term in in his sentence, the sentence I have quoted in my reply.
    I am asking for DR W.'s definition because he is referencing specific ideas, and as such I am willing to use his definition, and explore his thinking in relationship to such concepts as a soul.

  • charliet May 09, 2012

    Dustproduction and others, define, define, define, we can define a word all day and get no where. Take the word or phrase in the "context" it was given, from there you will gain insight and wisdom, everyone has a different take on the word "soul" yet in context they all are basically the same, it is the "emotions" attached to the word that make your definition yours.

    drdonw - I believe you are totally right when you say all are Sufi whether they call themselves that or not, I have not yet found one religion or belief that "knows" it all. This will require further reading for me. Thanks.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    Perhaps you are correct that science cannot " find the soul, because it is not a material structure," but it can help us in understanding how we as physical creates are imbued with the sense on one.
    It would seem you are taking a dualist approach here in defining soul. For many the complication of dualism is this simple; a soul at some point is associating with the material structure of what we are as human. A where, and a how, it does this is needed for our definition.

    It might be argued that in the case of savants that have a very low there is displayed an ability to access a field of information. This group of individuals does not acquire knowledge by learning as the average human does. They mysteriously 'know' explicit, exact, correct information. Dr. Joseph Chilton Pearce in his book "Evolution's End" says an idiot savant "is pre-disposed to the intelligence of his specialty through some early infant-childhood experience that activates a "field of neurons (brain cells) " capable of translating from field of intelligence," within narrow limits.
    This then presents two issues. The first is that your description, " the soul is... an information field that is continually updating and self-organizing" requires further explanation. Is a soul the "information field", a field within a field, or something else?
    The second issues is how this field, a soul, would interface with the body. And again, you will need to further define a soul if we are to understands its functions.
    I will add that Kim Peek, a savant and the inspiration behind the movie "Rain Man", was found to be missing a Corpus Callosum.
    Scientific experiments with a "split brain", where the corpus callosum has been severed, will provide insight into interface issues we can explore once you have offered us a further definition of "soul" to work with.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 09, 2012

    Yes, Jim, I am the person who gave the talk and authored the book. I'm glad you enjoyed my talk.

    The term Sufi is derived from Sophia, wisdom. Sufism is a wisdom tradition that can be traced back to the Egyptian mystery schools and the tradition of the Magi. Sufism draws from the teachings of all the different traditions, and recognizes the masters, saints, and prophets of all the world religions. While some Sufi orders are islamic, the Sufi order that I am part of (Sufi Order International), welcomes people from all belief systems. There is no dogma, and the purpose is to help each person awaken to his/her highest potentials as a human being. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, who was my teacher for many years, was very much interested in science, particularly physics, and he inspired me to continue to explore the relationship between science and spirituality. The Sufis say that any sincere seeker of wisdom is a Sufi, whether they call themself a Sufi or not.

  • Anonymous Icon

    drdonw May 09, 2012

    We live in a reality in which everything is interconnected with everything else. Our understanding of existence is based on the relationship between ourself and whatever it is that we are experiencing. To me, the soul is the underlying framework for potential self-organizing functioning, knowledge, and action that is unique to each person. Awakening that is referred to by different spiritual traditions refers to the degree of increasing the capacity for self-organization. We are always operating from a particular frame of reference. If that frame of reference is limited to a dualistic mode of perception and understanding, then what we can know is also very limited. I don't believe it is possible for science to find the soul, because it is not a material structure. Perhaps a way of describing the soul is that it is an information field that is continually updating and self-organizing.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 09, 2012

    Define "soul."
    What is it the soul does for us?
    How does science find the soul?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 08, 2012

    Drdonw,

    Exceptionally good talk! Your collection of scientific experiments that challenge our familiar reality creates the opportunity to perceive the world in a less conditioned manner.

    The book “Upgrading the Operating System of the Soul: A Manual of Quantum Sufism” sounds interesting. We have had little or no discussion of Sufism in these discussions. Could you expand a bit on Sufism to get things started?

    Am I correct in assuming that you are the Dr. Don Weiner who gave the talk and authored the book?

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