One of the fundamental debates in philosophy is the mind/matter problem. At the core of the discussions, is whether the mind is a production of biological functions or is there an interaction between the outside and the mind. We can’t solve this debate in this blog, but we can discuss whether there is a role for paranormal in the discussion.
On one side of the debate is the rationalist approach, that everything can be explained by observation, i.e., science. It is a view that the mind is a production of neurological processes within the brain and doesn’t interact outside of science. Therefore, the mind can be explained by its biological functions.
The other side of the debate is the dualism approach. There is an interaction between the mind and body, and consciousness is a product of both processes. There is a clear separation between mind and body.
In my first book (The Quantum Mind: Can Science Explain Paranormal Phenomena), I suggested a framework to study the paranormal through the perspective of quantum mechanics. At the heart of quantum mechanics are the role of non-local events, double slit experiment, and consciousness. We know there is plenty of scientific evidence for quantum mechanics.
The problem with paranormal/parapsychology research is that it is seen on the outside of science. A scientist might correctly/wrongly see paranormal as pseudo-science. Indeed, there is parapsychology research that deserves to be put into the trash. However, not all paranormal investigations are terrible. Some research will meet the threshold of scientifical methodology, and its effects pass significant and meaningful tests.
People too quickly dismiss paranormal research based on set positions rather than following the evidence. Paranormal investigations at their heart discusses whether consciousness can operate outside of the human body. There is evidence to demonstrate across a range of topics; near death experiences, remote viewing, mediumship, poltergeist cases, and a variety of laboratory experiments, such as telepathy research. Fundamental to the debate is whether a human can perceive information outside of our perception of space-time.
When I started to research paranormal literature, I was amazed by the similarities between paranormal and quantum mechanics. Paranormal research can be dismissed because of its nature even though there are striking similarities with quantum mechanics. It could give insight into one of the fundamental debates in philosophy of the mind/matter. Therefore, scientists/philosophy shouldn’t dismiss quality paranormal research because it doesn’t fit into the belief system but on whether it has sound methodological grounds.
So what insight can paranormal research bring in the rationalism/dualism debate? Firstly, there is evidence that is difficult to dismiss, humans can affect their environment around them without making physical contact. It is evident in several poltergeist case studies. Generally, researchers find brain abnormalities, such as temporal lobe issues, with people who can demonstrate poltergeist effects. It is difficult to dismiss quality case studies other than ignorance of the facts.
Secondly paranormal laboratory research shows significant results, over and over again. There does seem statistical evidence that humans can perceive information beyond our normal perception of space-time. It can be through, telepathy, precognition, etc. They all find statistical evidence. However, one of the difficulties within the paranormal literature is a lack of an accepted theoretical background to study paranormal. In most cases, its psychologists who are trying to solve a physics problem. Therefore, a parapsychologist is finding evidence but they don’t know why!
Paranormal literature can contribute to the mind/body debate. It actually, tests whether humans can perceive the world outside of our standard view of space-time. The fact there is evidence, suggests ignoring it creates a problem with science. A scientist shouldn’t dismiss paranormal evidence as it doesn’t fit into their paradigm, which isn’t proven.
It is only recently that quantum mechanics is being considered within biological systems. This is only a new field, but recently there are positive findings for quantum mechanics systems within photosynthesis and migratory birds. It seems blindly obvious that quantum mechanics will be present in biological systems as it is proven in chemistry and physics. The debate is whether it has a significant role, which it appears to do so.
One of the fundamental debates in quantum mechanics is the role of consciousness. Perhaps paranormal researchers in the future will move to study topics within quantum mechanics/consciousness research. I believe that viewing paranormal from the theoretical basis of quantum mechanics will give us future insights into the mind/matter debate.
I will be presenting a series of blogs around the paranormal: The next topic is “Common Features of Near Death Experiences (NDE’s).”
If your interested, you can buy my book at Amazon
Thanks for reading, Ian