How Close is Science to Understanding Consciousness?


Published on Nov 14, 2015

http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/

Fascinating conversation with Stuart Hameroff, Julia Mossbridge, Henry Stapp and Chris Fields, facilitated by A.H. Almaas

Four different scientists with varying views of consciousness or mind. This panel will be a conversation between these different views to understand their contributions, and to see how they understand each other, and how they relate to other theories of consciousness. The point is to have a genuine deep dialogue between scientific theories of consciousness to find commonalities, and the meaning of the differences. We will explore whether scientific theories have a consensus about anything relating to consciousness, like an operating definition of consciousness. I will be facilitating with an eye from the nondual view of consciousness, to ask questions and address issues in the study of consciousness that can help in looking deeper into the assumptions and conclusions of each theory.

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The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness by B. Alan Wallace (Author)

This book takes a bold new look at ways of exploring the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness within the context of science and religion. Alan Wallace draws careful distinctions between four elements of the scientific tradition: science itself, scientific realism, scientific materialism, and scientism.

Arguing that the metaphysical doctrine of scientific materialism has taken on the role of ersatz-religion for its adherents, he traces its development from its Greek and Judeo-Christian origins, focusing on the interrelation between the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. He looks at scientists’ long term resistance to the firsthand study of consciousness and details the ways in which subjectivity has been deemed taboo within the scientific community.

In conclusion, Wallace draws on William James’s idea for a “science of religion” that would study the nature of religious and, in particular, contemplative experience.
In exploring the nature of consciousness, this groundbreaking study will help to bridge the chasm between religious belief and scientific knowledge. It is essential reading for philosophers and historians of science, scholars of religion, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and religion.

B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com).

He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.

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A Radically Empirical Approach to the Exploration of Consciousness, Alan Wallace

Published on Nov 14, 2015

For centuries, theologians and philosophers have proposed a wide range of hypotheses concerning the origins and nature of consciousness and what happen to consciousness at death, without reaching any consensus. Over the past 140 years, cognitive scientists have likewise proposed a diverse array of definitions of consciousness and theories attempting to solve the mind-body problem.

Materialists have tended to dominate such discourse, with some arguing that subjective states of consciousness must be equivalent to brain processes or their emergent properties, while others deny the very existence of subjective, conscious experience. Virtually none of these theories lend themselves to scientific validation or repudiation; they do not appear to moving towards any kind of consensus; and they all lack of any rigorous means of investigating subjective states of consciousness firsthand. In other words, they have all overlooked a key element that initially set “natural philosophy” apart from all other branches of philosophy and theology in the 17th century: the precise, rigorous observation of the natural phenomena under investigation.

While all subjectively experienced mental processes and states of consciousness are undetectable by the instruments of technology, they can be observed with refined attention and introspection. William James, one of the foremost pioneers of experimental psychology and neuroscience, proposed that introspection should play a central role in scientifically exploring the mind.

But ever since the rise of behaviorism in the early 20th century, his radically empirical approach proposal has been ignored. Buddhist contemplatives, on the other hand, have adopted this radically empirical approach for millennia, and they have established a large body of consensual knowledge. Thus far, their methods and discoveries have been almost entirely overlooked by the scientific community and the general public. It is high time to correct this oversight.

Alan Wallace, Lecturer, Scholar, and Prolific Writer on Tibetan Buddhism

Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace seeks ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, Wallace went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy
of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. http://www.alanwallace.org

James Swartz – 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview


Published on Nov 14, 2015

Also see https://batgap.com/james-swartz-2/

James Swartz, a native of Montana, was a successful businessman who was awakened in the Sixties by a powerful epiphany and made his way to India where he became a disciple of Swamis Chinmayananda and Dayananda, two of India’s most respected sages. Since the seventies James has taught Vedanta to thousands worldwide. He presents the provocative teachings of traditional Vedanta in a systematic, lively, and humorous manner. His website, http://ShiningWorld.com, is a major non-duality resource. James is the author of The Essence of Enlightenment: Vedanta, the Science of Consciousness, How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Nonduality, Mystic By Default, Inquiry into Existence, The Mystery Beyond the Trinity: Inquiry Into the Self, many commentaries on sacred texts, numerous articles on Non-duality, thousands of pages of Satsangs and hundreds of hours of videos on Vedanta, the Science of Consciousness.

Interview recorded 11/7/2015

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