Physicalism

By Gebelein, Robert S. | The Journal of Parapsychology, Fall 2013 | Go to article overview

Physicalism


Gebelein, Robert S., The Journal of Parapsychology


Scientism, reductionism, materialism, physicalism--the assertion that there is no reality beyond the physical or what can be explained by known physical laws--has been accepted at our major educational institutions as some kind of absolute inviolable truth, such that persons suggesting the possibility of such things as precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, the existence of a spiritual reality, the power of prayer, reincarnation, levitation, or intelligent design are automatically dismissed as mentally incompetent, and denied publication, funding, and employment. And yet, despite these obstacles, qualified and responsible people are studying these dismissed subjects and building up a body of knowledge (e.g., Radin, 2013; Schmicker, 2002; Tart, 2009). The result is that our major educational institutions, having become paralyzed by their adherence to physicalism, are falling farther and farther behind actual cultural knowledge. I am sending this to the presidents of our top-ranked educational institutions, to see what they can do to end the paralysis and revive the flow of information and ideas.

There seems to be a fear on the part of some people that acknowledging the existence of "spiritual" phenomena will take us right back to religion again. So the first thing we need to do is to separate the spiritual from religion. Religion is primarily fiction created to explain and deal with the unknown, primarily the spiritual. Religion presents itself as a rigid authoritarian belief system, pretending to be absolute ultimate truth, to give people the security they want. Religion will always be incompatible with science, not because it deals with the spiritual, but because it is a rigid belief system. The spiritual can be explored scientifically, as some people are now doing, simply by observing the evidence and drawing valid logical inferences from it. No religious assumptions (like the existence of a "'God") have to be made.

But science has overextended itself by trying to replace religion. With Darwin's theory of the origin of species, it was no longer necessary to have a Creator to explain our existence. Matter simply assembled itself, according to known physical laws. Everything was known or could be known through physical science.

Biologists themselves have accumulated the evidence to refute Darwin's theory. New species have appeared too quickly, in geological time, to have evolved through the process of adaptation, and they have appeared fully formed, and not in gradual stages of adaptation (e.g., Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1983; Illustra Media, 2009). Biologists can't admit that Darwin's theory has been refuted, because their whole belief system rests upon it (e.g., Dawkins, 198?). We are thrown back to the realization that we don't really know. Physicalism has become the new fiction to explain the unknown.

What is the scientific basis for physicalism?

In order for physicalism, scientifically, to be the absolute and inviolable truth it is treated as, it would have to be demonstrated scientifically, absolutely and inviolably. And I don't see that proof anywhere. In order to establish scientifically that there is no reality beyond the physical, one would need a complete knowledge of everything. With the discovery of dark matter, it should be clear that we are nowhere near a complete knowledge of even the physical, let alone those dimensions which may yet be undetected.

Conversely, the other side of the logical proposition "There are no such things" is that if we can find only one such thing, the proposition is falsified. In 1958, I dreamed of my grandmother's death an hour before I received the telegram. That's all the evidence I ever needed to know there was a reality beyond what had been explained in my physics courses at Harvard.

The Catholic Church has recorded thousands of miracles. The Christian Science Church has recorded thousands of miraculous cures. …

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