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Using Science to Test Philosophy

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posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 01:13 PM
It's one thing to ponder philosophy. It's another thing to actually test the philosophy you are leaning toward. Science has made a lot of progress and it now gives us ways to test philosophy that ancient philosophers could not.

There are lots of different philosophies, but for the purposes of this thread we will focus on testing only one. Material monism. It is an ancient philosophy that has opened the way for much of modern science, and thanks to the fruits of science it has tremendous persuasive power. A material monist believes that everything that exists is matter, which means your mind is a brain-generated illusion that can be reduced to something that is not-mind.

A dualist believes that material things exist and immaterial things exist, and they interact somehow.

On the other side of the monism coin is mental monism, or Idealism. It holds that some level or state of consciousness is the ground of reality, not matter. It holds that time, space, and everything in them emerge from a primordial level of undifferentiated awareness, or a timeless cosmic consciousness, or something to that effect. Mental monism can accomodate everything that material monism can, but the reverse is not true. Material monsim can't accomodate everything that mental monism can. So we can use science to test material monism, and see if it holds up to evidence.

If material monism is true, then when you stub your toe I ought not to be able to feel it. There should not be a correlation between my brain and yours when one of us stubs our toe, because there is no material connection between our brains. So what would happen if we test that? What would happen to material monism, if some part of me can feel your pain when you stub your toe? It would be confronted by evidence it can't easily accomodate.

One twin should not experience what the other experiences, if material monism is true. Not unless their bodies are hooked up together physically. A mother should not know when her distant child needs her, and lovers should not experience each others pain.

So here is a simple test. We take two people and separate them. We hook them up to science gadgets. And we watch their brains to see if they each experience what the other does. Luckily, that test has been done many times, and the evidence does not favor material monism.

Evidence of Correlated Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Signals between Distant Human Brains


The hypothesis that signals travel between the nervous systems of organisms that are not in physical contact has been posited but never fully tested.

The first known report in the scientific literature of correlated signals between distant brains (“neural energy transfer”) appeared in Science in 1965. Duane and Behrendt studied pairs of monozygotic human twins and reported that EEG alpha rhythms were elicited in 1 member of the pair as a result of evoking these rhythms in the other member, who was separated by 6 meters in a different room. They reported that “extrasensory induction,” as they called it, occurred in 2 out of 15 pairs of twins tested.

In 1994 Grinberg-Zylberbaum et al reported that visually evoked potentials in a human brain produced by photostimulation to 1 member of a pair can induce similar evoked potentials in the occiput of another person located 14.5 meters away in an electrically shielded room. These authors claimed that the “transferred potential” was observed only after the pair, previously unknown to each other, had spent 20 minutes together in meditative silence to induce a sense of “connectedness.”

The Bastyr University/University of Washington Consciousness Science Laboratory research group developed sophisticated electroencephalographic (EEG) technology and statistical signal detection methods to replicate these findings. We previously reported that correlated EEG signals were recorded from the occiput of 5 of 60 healthy subjects tested in pairs when 1 member of the pair received visual stimulation while the other member, located in a separate chamber 10 meters away, did not receive visual stimulation. The next step in our research was to determine if similar results could be attained using functional MRI (fMRI) technology. We report here on the first results of our fMRI study of correlated metabolic brain signals detected between 2 human subjects separated from each other by 10 meters.

To our knowledge, this is the first fMRI demonstration of correlated-event–related signals between 2 human brains at a distance. The regions of activation shown in this paper (area 18 and 19) are similar to the brain regions that are activated when a subject is directly stimulated with checkerboard reversal stimulation (In this case test subject 1 was stimulated but the pattern appeared in the brain of test subject 2 in the next room).

If material monism is true, then what your body experiences stays in your body. It can't be in my body too. But many tests show that is not the case. Sooner or later, mental monism will win out over material monism. That doesn't mean we will have to throw out all the science textbooks. It will just mean a little tweaking.

The following list is not exhaustively complete, it is not in any particular order.

Duane TD, Behrendt T. Extrasensory electroencephalographic induction between identical twins. Science 1965, 150-367.

Grinberg-Zylberbaum, J. & Ramos, J. (1987). Patterns of interhemispheric correlation during human communication. International Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 41-53.

Grinberg-Zylberbaum, J., Delaflor, M., Attie, L. & Goswami, L. (1994). The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in the brain: The transferred potential. Physics Essays, 7,422–428

Hasson U., Nir Y., LevyI., Fuhrmann G., & Malach R. (2004). Intersubject synchronization of cortical activity during natural vision. Science 303, 1634– 1640.

Hearne K. Visually evoked responses and ESP. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 1977, 49, 648-657.

Hearne K. Visually evoked responses and ESP: Failure to replicate previous findings. J Society for Psychical Research 1981, 51, 145-147.

Kalitzin S. & Suffczynski P. (2003). Comments on “Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects”. Neuroscience Letters 350, 193–194.

Kelly EF, Lenz J. EEG changes correlated with a remote stroboscopic stimulus: A preliminary study. In Morris J, Roll W, Morris R. J (eds.). Research in Parapsychology 1975, Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, p. 58-63 (abstracted in Journal of Parapsychology, 1975, 39, 25) 1976.

Kittenis M, Carul P, Stevens P. Distant psychophysiological interaction effects between related and unrelated participants, Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association Convention 2004, 67-76
(meeting held in Vienna, Austria, August 5-8, 2004).

edit on 845Sunday000000America/ChicagoJul000000SundayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 03:31 PM
SnF. I enjoyed the read. I'd be interested in hearing of studies to do with the other philosophies you mentioned; particularly the idealism theory. I hope you add to the thread!

I tend to believe consciousness is the grounds of reality for my own reasons.

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 04:36 PM
a reply to: BlueMule

If Mental monism aka Idealism is true, then there should be some evidence suggesting a kind of "global consciousness" or awareness or "noosphere". So what would happen if we put special devices all over the planet, and monitored them for years for signs of global consciousness?

If the monistic materialistic view which is currently accepted in neuroscience is true, then nothing should happen. Our minds should not be able to form a "noosphere", because they are just illusions.

But according to the available evidence, something does indeed happen.

The Global Consciousness Project: a Summary

The GCP was created in 1997 by a group of researchers working in the boundary areas of physics and psychology. It has grown to include over 100 scientists, artists, and others around the world. Our purpose is to study indications of the subtle reach of human consciousness in the physical world on a global scale. We maintain a network of physical random number generators (RNG) designed for and used in research showing human consciousness can affect random systems under controlled conditions.

The hypothesis of the GCP is that continuous streams of data from these instruments will show anomalous deviations associated with global events that produce a large-scale, widely synchronized sharing of emotional reactions. During the first few years of the Project, the number of sites hosting our instruments grew to the present number of about 65, with locations from Alaska to Fiji, on all populated continents and in nearly every time zone. The map below left shows their locations.

We have registered over 450 formal experiments as of early 2014. Each is specified a priori as a period of time during which we predict that the data will depart from expectation based on standard statistical measures. We assess a variety of events such as the celebration of New Years, shocking events like the disaster on September 11 2001, natural tragedies such as the great earthquakes in Turkey and Haiti, the Asian and Japanese Tsunamis, and large-scale meditation and religious events like the Kumbh Mela in India.

The results indicate strong correlations in some cases and virtually none in others, but overall they show significant evidence that something remarkable happens when we all are drawn into a community of interest and emotion. We have a hypothesis registry that records details of the cases we analyze, and our project's website has complete information about its history, technology, and methods, as well as free public access to the database.

The Results page gives an up-to-date summary of the formal tests, and published articles give details about the research findings, including multiple indicators of structure in data that should be random. A composite across all the individual cases can be visualized in a chronological graph that shows the steady accumulation of differences of the formal data from expectation (below right).

If there were no effect, the jagged line representing the results would have a level trend, though it would wander randomly up and down near the horizontal zero line. As the figure shows, the actual data have a fairly steady upward trend. The composite statistic for the project, after 15 years of data accumulation, shows a 7-sigma departure from expectation, indicating a probability on the order of 1 in a trillion that the correlation of our data with global events is merely a chance fluctuation.

The data also show patterns in measures other than the preplanned formal statistic, which looks at network variance. This measure can be represented as a non-zero pairwise correlation of the geographically separated RNG devices. A second, orthogonal correlation also has been identified, as well as both spatial and temporal structure. The pairwise correlation effect is greater for large events than small events, and the correlation strength declines with increased separation in the small event subset. The anomalous effects also show a form of diurnal variation, with larger effects when people are awake.

These findings can't be taken as proof of an awakening global consciousness, but it is suggestive, and we have excluded reasonable mundane explanations such as electromagnetic radiation, excessive strain on the power grid, or mobile phone use. We don't yet know how to explain the correlations between events of importance to humans and the GCP data, but they are quite clear.

They suggest something akin to the image held in almost all cultures of a unity or oneness, based on an interconnection that is fundamental to life. Our efforts to understand these complex and interesting data may contribute insight into the role of mind as a creative force in the physical world. We can hope they will encourage awakening to conscious evolution.

edit on 949SundayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluSundayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 05:53 PM
If we are to think of ourselves in only physical, material terms then that leaves things like faith, hope, and love in bad position. They are reduced to material things that are not faith, hope, or love and then left there to rot.

So if material monism is true, then things like faith, hope, and love should not make much difference outside of your own body. But again, the available evidence comes down against material monism.

"Braud (1995) examine this concept between parapsychology and spirituality and found that from the spiritual tradition of faith, hope and love (observed in many religious practices) many know psychic function arranged themselves into the same categorises; Faith which is linked to belief and trust, in parapsychology studies research has shown that the presence or absence of psi belief can have an impact to psi performance (e.g. sheep-goat effect) and not only influenced by the participant beliefs but also by the experimenters (e.g. experimenter effect). Hope which is linked to expectation and desire, in PK research has shown that participants are able to manipulate the object to achieve the desire or expected outcome (e.g. dice rolling studies). Love which is linked with positive feelings and motivation can be seen in the parapsychology research into psychic healing."

edit on 996SundayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluSundayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 07:42 PM
Materialist offer no real clinical explanation in relation to why Spontaneous Remissions occur. Meaning they have no clear point of reference, from which to define consciousness. Biology for its own sake cannot violate its essential principles to allow for spontaneous remission.

To suggest the notion that somehow conservative interpretations, of human biology as somehow, "finding a way to cure cancer on its own", is an absurdity.

Any thoughts?

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 08:16 PM
Unfortunately quantum entanglement puts a spanner in the works (all matter is connected) and then there's string theory that proposes our entire universe is just one vibrating string. Research into near death experiences suggests our consciousness is still operational when all brain activity ceases :

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 08:34 PM
Yeah spontaneous remissions and NDEs do seem to be a problem for material monism. It's too bad that the materialists of ATS aren't chiming in to comment.

posted on Jul, 13 2014 @ 09:03 PM
a reply to: BlueMule

in order for a theory to be treated as Fact it must be provable in relation to a population. Science in relation to such lofty issues can only relate to inductive conclusions and in other words, science is then in relation to such issues, dependent upon sampling. The only true way to confirm or deny the existence of Psi ability, is to test the population. This is the very same reason Gravity Theory is still a theory, as there is no way to test, the population (which n this case would be the entire "Universe", as we understand it).

Actually, the idea that Psi is possible violates what is today, the "Fundamental Laws of Physics". Modifying sad laws to incorporate, Psi as a valid construct?

Would involve altering the "Laws of Physics", in ways that would imply the current configuration as impotent, in relation to what is actually going on.

Any thoughts?

edit on 13-7-2014 by Kashai because: Content edit

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 12:16 AM
a reply to: BlueMule

No offense meant, but I think you mean test spiritualism with science.
Philosophy covers both terms.
edit on 15-7-2014 by HarbingerOfShadows because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 06:47 AM

originally posted by: HarbingerOfShadows
a reply to: BlueMule

No offense meant, but I think you mean test spiritualism with science.
Philosophy covers both terms.

None taken! But if I meant testing spiritualism with science, then I would have presented evidence of spirit communication, for example studies of mediums. There are studies out there, and they are incompatible with material monism, but mediumship is not really my interest.

edit on 534TuesdayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluTuesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 10:06 AM
a reply to: BlueMule

Hey Blue Mule thought I'd give your thread a bump and write a little rhyme. I really don't fit into either the mental or material mindset. I have my own thing going on. Anyway I am just having bit of fun here. So no need to get mulish!

Luminous numinous Jungian grooviness
Song of the shaman gold of the alchemist
Mystical union arrows of Zen
Dance of the Sufi the body within

Electromagnetical resonant harmony
Circled and squared with triangularity
Waves of emotion scent telepathically
Soft spoken images rise synaesthetically

Mountains of faith carry hope in a box
Reflections of longing... chemical love
Peddler of dreams...heavenly twin
I am that I am the body within

Regards Midicon

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 11:23 AM
a reply to: midicon

Hey thanks bud I like you poem very much, and I respect that you got your own thing going on. Thanks again!

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 02:22 PM
This thread isn't exactly attracting much debate, but I'll keep posting relevant info. Maybe sooner or later a debate will start up. Or maybe this material will be useful in other threads.

The Reality Tests


Some physicists still find quantum mechanics unpalatable, if not unbelievable, because of what it implies about the world beyond our senses. The theory’s mathematics is simple enough to be taught to undergraduates, but the physical implications of that mathematics give rise to deep philosophical questions that remain unresolved. Quantum mechanics fundamentally concerns the way in which we observers connect to the universe we observe. The theory implies that when we measure particles and atoms, at least one of two long-held physical principles is untenable: Distant events do not affect one other, and properties we wish to observe exist before our measurements. One of these, locality or realism, must be fundamentally incorrect.

For more than 70 years, innumerable physicists have tried to disentangle the meaning of quantum mechanics through debate. Now Zeilinger and his collaborators have performed a series of experiments that, while neatly agreeing with the theory’s predictions, are reinvigorating these historical dialogues. In Vienna experiments are testing whether quantum mechanics permits a fundamental physical reality. A new way of understanding an already powerful theory is beginning to take shape, one that could change the way we understand the world around us. Do we create what we observe through the act of our observations?


edit on 849TuesdayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluTuesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 03:31 PM
Here is a paper that explains mental monism and QM a bit.

The Idealistic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics


A paradox free interpretation of quantum mechanics is given using the philosophy of monistic idealism. This idealistic interpretation is developed as an ontological extension of the Copenhagen interpretation, and it is shown to correct the dualistic errors made by Wigner and others who have tried to invoke consciousness in quantum measurement theory. I also compare the idealistic interpretation with such realistic alternatives as the hidden variables theory or the many-worlds hypothesis that are closest to the present idea in spirit. The new interpretation leads to a new way of thinking about the mind-brain and our self-reference problems.



To begin, without being too technical, I will review the major philosophies at issue:

Realism. This philosophy holds that the fundamental elements of reality are independent of consciousness – this is the doctrine of strong objectivity. A tree in the forest is real, even when it is not being perceived; the moon continues in its space-time orbit, even when nobody is looking; and so forth. The doctrine of strong objectivity is further augmented by another doctrine – causal determinism. There are many different subphilosophies within this basic realist view, and I will only mention two that are useful in the discussion of quantum philosophy:

material realism, which considers matter to be the only fundamental reality; there is only one order of reality, matter (and its extensions, energy, and fields), according to this view. All else, including consciousness, are epiphenomena and are ultimately reducible to matter. Thus materialism comes hand in hand with epiphenomenalism and reductionism. Furthermore, since the only reality is that defined by space-time, the doctrine of locality is held fundamental.

nonphysical realism, which permits orders of reality other than matter, although we may directly experience only the material order. Bohm’s idea of implicate and explicate order is an example of nonphysical realism.(9) Since there is more than one order of reality, locality is no longer essential; neither are epiphenomenalism and reductionism.

Idealism. This philosophy holds that the fundamental elements of reality must include the mind. Within this broad category I will mention two subdivisions that will be important for our discussion:

dualism(or pluralism), which considers mind and body to be separate worlds both having primary importance. This philosophy hardly needs further elaboration.

monistic idealism, which considers consciousness to be the primary reality. The world of matter is considered to be determined by consciousness as is the subtle world of mental phenomena, such as thought. Besides the material and the subtle (which together form the immanent reality or the world of appearance), idealism posits a transcendent archetypal or ideal realm as the “source” of the lower immanent worlds of appearance of the material and the subtle. However, monistic idealism is fundamentally a monistic philosophy; any subdivisions such as the three orders above are in consciousness – thus, ultimately, consciousness is the only reality.

posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 03:34 PM
Here is a great video about science and non-duality. Enjoy!

posted on Jul, 16 2014 @ 09:23 PM
1.Take a number two pencil in hand.

2. Place the copper top that holds the eraser 1cm from the area that relates to the bridge of the nose with the forehead.

3. Move the pencil from that position to the center of your forehead

4. Make every effort to repeat what you are experiencing, in meditation without using the pencil.

5. Enjoy the experience.

Any thoughts?

posted on Jul, 16 2014 @ 11:44 PM
Scientifically their is not one ounce or research as to why you are having this experience.

Any thoughts?

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