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Middle Section of article, "20th and 21st Century Science"

Please find below the Middle Section of Article by Robert Jahn in Journal of Scientific Exploration:

"Thus, at the dawn of the 21st century, we again find an elite, smugly contented scientific establishment, but one now endowed with far more public authority and respect than that of the prior version. A veritable priesthood of high science controls major segments of public and private policy and expenditure
for research, development, construction, production, education, and publication throughout the world, and enjoys a cultural trust and reverence that extends far beyond its true merit.

It is an establishment that is largely consumed with refinements and deployments of mid–20th century science, rather than with creative advancement of fundamental understanding of the most
profound and potentially seminal aspects of its trade. Even more seriously, it is an establishment that persists in frenetically sweeping legitimate genres of new anomalous phenomena under its intellectual carpet, thereby denying its own well-documented heritage that anomalies are the most precious raw material from which future science is formed.

Let us turn to these current anomalies and ask what new science they may spawn. The readership of this Journal surely needs no lexicon of these topics. It is precisely the constellation of subjects that the Society for Scientific Exploration has been studying, talking, and writing about since its formation, and comprises all of the subtle and mysterious ways that living creatures perceive, interpret, and influence the world they inhabit. Whether we are investigating anomalous mind/matter interactions, remote perceptions, poltergeists, reincarnations,
UFO phenomena, strange creatures, inexplicable meteorological effects, or alternative healing modalities, we are at some level, explicit or implicit, addressing the role of consciousness in the establishment and behavior of physical reality.

And for this intellectual crusade we have very little science
in hand: very little vocabulary, a scant concept base, and few mechanics, assessment criteria, or experimental facilities. Another major intellectual break-out, of a scale, vision, and courage comparable to that of the quantum era, is required to start science rolling forward again.

What should be the character of this break-out? First to be emphasized is that we do not need any destructive revolution that discards sound scientific methodology or threatens systematic scientific logic. Rather, we require an evolutionary broadening and deepening of the scientific venue and perspective, more like its evolution into quantum and relativistic domains of the past century, to extend its intellectual power into study of the full reach of the human mind and spirit. In an earlier article (Jahn & Dunne, 1997), we attempted to define and justify a “Science of the Subjective,” which proposed the following expansions of the scientific paradigm:

o A proactive role for consciousness that would elevate it from a passive observer of the physical world, to a purposeful agent in its behavior.

o Inclusion of subjective experience as well as objective properties in the scientific arsenals of concepts, data, analyses, models, and interpreta-tions.

o The acceptance of teleological drivers in all forms of mind/matter interactions; specifically, the efficacy of intention and resonance, within a context of relevance or meaning, in facilitating physical change.

o Clearer distinction between causality and correlation in both material and mental events.

o Recognition of the interconnectedness of the physical, psychological, and philosophical aspects, leading to greater reliance on transdisciplinary metaphors for representation, interpretation, generalization, and unification of consciousness-related phenomena.

o Relaxation of replicability criteria for complex, multi-statistical physical, biological, and psychological systems and processes.

Clearly, such extensions of scientific perspective and strategy present huge problems in orderly identification, representation, quantification, and interpretation of experiential phenomena, but the potential benefits of this pursuit are even more awesome. For from its success, science could aspire not only to benevolent stewardship of the physical world, but also to productive understanding of the interactions of its living inhabitants with it, and with one another.

If this new era of science is to retain the incisiveness and rigor of its immediate predecessor, it must continue to feature a vital dialogue between empirical experience and logical reasoning, i.e., between experiment and theory. The major changes required on both sides of this dialogue will be the inclusion of
the various subjective aspects just mentioned. Incorporation of intuitive, aesthetic, and metaphoric dimensions into research protocols, although largely eschewed by 20th century mainstream science, need not pose insurmountable
tactical problems.

To some extent, contemporary research in the family of psychological disciplines has already established some lexicon of empirical concepts and heuristic methods for the evaluation and correlation of subjective aspects with objectively specifiable physical results. But to extend such provincially circumscribed correlations into more universal theoretical formulations representative of the global interplay of mind and matter will require far more expansive and courageous scholarly creativity.

************End of Middle Section************

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Topic - Middle Section of article, "20th and 21st Century Science" - geoffkait 07:50:42 04/04/07 (19)

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