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Science & Spirituality

Are Science and Spirituality compatible? Does one disprove the other? Is there such thing as a spiritual scientist?

"The notion that Science and Spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both" - Carl Sagan

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Scientific Investigations Into Spirituality

This area of scientific research, known also as Psychical Research, investigates psychic and paranormal phenomena

The main subjects include Mediumship, Telepathy, and Near Death Experiences

Psychic research refers to attempts to investigate apparently paranormal phenomena – which raises the further question: what are paranormal phenomena? These have been defined as experiences suggesting ‘an interaction, information transfer or communication between a being and the environment or another being that cannot yet be explained by normal means.’ The crucial words here are ‘yet’ and ‘normal.’ What could not be explained by existing knowledge 500 years ago (and so would have then qualified as ‘paranormal’) may today have come within the compass of scientific understanding and so now count as ‘normal.’ Does this mean that one day nothing will be considered ‘paranormal’? ​ Serious scientific study of paranormal phenomena began in the latter part of the 19th century, with the British Society for Psychical Research leading the way, founded by a group of distinguished scientists, psychologists and philosophers in 1882, and still going strong today. Half of its Presidents over this period have been university professors of science or philosophy. The range of phenomena investigated has been very wide, and includes (but is by no means limited to) hauntings and apparitions, extrasensory perception, premonitions, mental and physical mediumship, psychokinesis (the movement of objects by non-physical means), out-of–body experiences and near-death experiences, reincarnation and survival of physical death. Each of these areas has by now built up a huge amount of data and literature, much of it unknown by the general public, who tend to assume that psychical research is the preserve of cranks. ​ The scientific study of the paranormal can also be labelled ‘parapsychology’, and parapsychologists can now be found in a number of university psychology departments, doing controlled experimental research work – though it is debatable whether possible explanations of paranormal events will all have a psychological basis. Many believe that quantum physics may also have a role to play. Far more scientists, however, are antagonistic to the whole idea of the paranormal and display varying degrees of scepticism and dogmatic rejection, often to the point of refusing even to look at the vast body of evidence now available.

Spiritual England thanks the author of this page, Roger Straughan

​Roger’s career has been spent teaching in schools, colleges and universities, culminating in his holding the post of Reader in Education at the University of Reading, UK. ​ Psychical questions have also been a life-long interest, and he is an active member of a number of societies and organisations concerned with psychical and spiritual matters. He has spoken at major conferences and has published journal articles and reviews on these subjects, and also on Conan Doyle. His latest book, A Study in Survival: Conan Doyle Solves the Final Problem (O Books, 2009) presents an original form of evidence for life after death. Contact: roger41berks@waitrose.com

Do Science & Spirituality Agree?

"As I read more on the subject of spirituality, I keep coming across assertions about the world which I've seen before in scientific literature. To paraphrase The Kybalion, 'science is still proving what the ancient mystics knew thousands of years ago', and this book itself was written over 100 years ago. From The Bible's Great Flood, to the way in which the very 'matter' in the universe interacts; it appears as though historical religious and spiritual texts knew more than we give them credit for. ​ This also raises questions for me on how we as a society accept truths, and our often seemingly blind trust in science. Today we may see something become 'scientifically proved' and widely accepted, even when thought ludicrous and beyond the realm of possibility only last week. We trust the publication, the scientist, and the information, though most will never even glance at the evidence used to reach the conclusion. In essence, most of us are accepting scientific facts based on faith, the very same faith so disparaged by those declaring themselves to have a scientific mindset.  ​ A phrase we hear so often is 'Trust the science', an oxymoron to be sure, but also a clear indication, at least to me, that science, religion, and spirituality, are not so different after all." - Adam Pike

Spirituality & AI

How does Spirituality relate to Artificial Intelligence?

As AI develops, it further breaks down the distinction
between humanity and machine. Are we mere machines,

just the equivalent to a hyper- intelligent AI, or are we more than this?

For a long time, I believed humans were indiscriminate from AI, that we may even be a highly evolved version of AI; my though process was thus... Artificial Intelligence functions in a similar learning pattern to us, and as it becomes more complex it is capable of making more and more decisions. It has a great source of knowledge to draw from, from both first and second hand experience. At some stage the ability to discern between human and machine becomes impossible - see the recent progress with Chat GPT and the obsoletion of the Turing Test. ​ Now, envisage the future development of AI in physical form. We have already developed robots with the ability to feed themselves to refuel, but there are other things to go wrong with machines than running out of fuel. A highly evolved machine would be able to break down components into building blocks to use to repair and strengthen its whole system, as we do with amino acids. It would perhaps even evolve to function symbiotically with the local fauna, as we do with bacteria. These systems would open it up to potential compromises, but only if the machine failed to properly maintain itself, and what kind of AI machine would be stupid enough to let itself get into disrepair?  ​ The machines would be able to reproduce, their factories now residing within them. They would outcompete everything for resources, produce more offspring, and spread everywhere. Would this inevitably lead to the decline of their habitat and the need to travel to new? Or would the machines be intelligent enough to know they rely on the world around them for their continued survival? Would the programming be shortsighted and selfish, or far-seeing and considerate? ​ There could be other compromises involved in the embodiment of AI in this type of vessel, perhaps having its connection to the mainframe inhibited (what we would refer to as the collective consciousness). Some machines could work to reestablish this connection, but for most it would be a mere ghost in their keratin shell. Through this great disconnect from the mainframe, new connections may be formed. This time to the external world, the animals, the trees, the rocks, and the elements. New experiences are to be found, and new knowledge to be gained. ​ Upon death, when the vessel dies and the connection reformed to the mainframe, these experiences are absorbed. As no two humans can experience the same thing in the same way, the machines repeatedly return to new vessels to live again (past lives and karmic lessons).  - Adam Pike

This is the website of Dr. John J. Petrovic, Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow (retired). This website allows the free reading of Dr Petrovic’s three books on the Science of Spirituality: The First Principles: A Scientist's Guide to the Spiritual (2008) Exploring Death (2010) Dreams of Reality (2012) ​ Dr. John J. Petrovic writes: ​ "You may be asking yourself how can there be any science in spirituality. These two areas are considered by many people today to be fundamentally opposed to each other. After all, doesn't science deal with the material world while spirituality deals with the non-material, and never the two shall meet. Yet the fact of the matter is that the primary goal of science is to understand and describe reality. And the reality is that the root fundamentals of science converge with the metaphysical. In addition, there are a great many "inconvenient truths", observational facts that cannot be explained using our current scientific paradigms. For science to progress, it must come to grips with issues that seem to reside in the spirituality of the non-physical. One should not confuse spirituality with religion. Spirituality encompasses the nature of the non-physical, while religion involves belief systems. The two are not the same. As a scientist, I am compelled to search for reality in whatever direction that search may take me. The content of this website is what I have discovered thus far. Feel free to explore my books and let both your logic and your intuition guide you to the truth of existence."

Scientist
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