Science Of The Lost Symbol


Why Are the Findings of the Noetic Sciences So Controversial?

We’ve all heard the old adage, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That surely is true of the claims of noetic scientists. They have evidence suggesting that we are participants in a quantum interconnected cosmos in which everything effects everything else; that intention and belief at least partly “create” our reality or, at the very least, can influence it; that consciousness may be a field that extends outside of the body, and that it is not an epiphenomenon of the brain but may be independent of material being; that energy healing is not only real but it can be learned; that our minds can affect matter; that the greater the coherence of our “energy fields,” especially of our heart field, the healthier we are, and the greater the impact we can have on others and the world around us; and on and on. They make one extraordinary claim after another. But extraordinary to whom? To those who are invested in the “way things are.”

The history of science is the history of extraordinary claims that eventually became accepted truth. New knowledge quickly becomes old knowledge. Yet, when we are invested in that old knowledge, we sometimes forget that things were ever any different. There is a principle in science called the “confirmation bias.” It explains why we tend to resist the new. It says that when confronted with information that is unfamiliar to us, especially when it runs counter to our beliefs, we retreat to what we know and feel comfortable with, rather than making a rational evaluation of the new evidence. Surprisingly, science especially is an endeavor that is subject to the confirmation bias, despite the fact that it is all about seeking new knowledge.

As a scientist you aren’t supposed to be allowed to decide which experimental result you like and which one you don’t, and then endorse only the one you like. But actually that’s what often happens in the real world. Scientists, for all their knowledge and intellect, are human beings. They can’t know everything, especially in today’s overspecialized world. Most scientists can barely keep up with the explosion of knowledge in their little neck of the scientific woods. So they have to choose where to put their focus, and that choice is partly influenced by their beliefs. Take physics as an example. The standard model of quantum mechanics is only one of about six major theories that arise out of the same body of experimental facts and evidence. String theory, Brane theory, the many worlds theory, symmetry and supersymmetry are some of the major contenders to the standard model. Since parts of each theory are mutually exclusive, only one theory can be correct. So how do physicists, or the rest of us for that matter, come to favor one theory over another? Usually because of personal preference. Scientists specialize early in their careers, and so they are predisposed to follow a particular line of thinking for their entire professional lives. When you have invested your reputation and career in exploring one theory, it’s hard to deviate from that path because of the anomalous results of the experiments of the scientist down the hall or across the campus.

We are not trying to be hard on conventional scientists. This isn’t personal—it’s simply the sociology of science. Admittedly, the reasons why the findings of noetic science are controversial, and often unfairly dismissed, are complex, and we cannot hope to address them in the space of this website. Yes, experimental evidence matters—both its quality and quantity. But what gets reviewed and how impartially it is evaluated may have more to do with the reviewer’s beliefs than with the merits of the work being scrutinized. That’s the short answer. For the long answer, we refer you to the many books about how science gets done, perhaps starting with Thomas S. Kuhn’s seminal The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and H. M. Collins’s Frames of Meaning: The Social Construction of Extraordinary Science.

In this website, we provide some of the evidence amassed by noetic scientists that is overturning much of the perceived wisdom of current scientific theory in physics, biology, medicine, psychology, and consciousness studies. We leave it to you to decide for yourself if the noetic sciences are truly “scientific” and if noetic scientists are truly on to something big—a reconceptualization of the nature of the cosmos and a revisioning of what it means to be human. As you evaluate the evidence, we urge you to consider the question What if? What if these noetic scientists are right—even only partly right? That we all have seemingly extraordinary abilities for healing. That we can influence matter through our focused intentions. That we are not separate from nature but are part of an interconnected global, and even universal, consciousness. If noetic scientists are correct, we can only imagine the glorious possibilities. As Dan Brown writes in The Lost Symbol, “Perception is transformed, and a new reality is born” (503). More poetically and grandly, as physicist Amit Goswami writes in his book The Self-Aware Universe, paraphrasing the poet Rabindranath Tagor, “I have listened/And I have looked/With open eyes./I have poured out my soul/Into the world/Seeking the unknown/Within the known./And I sing out loud/In amazement” (ix).

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