Thursday, December 28, 2006

#1. On Recent Developments in Science and Religion

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This is my first-ever blog entry. It was sparked by three significant articles which appeared in the media in Oct-Nov 2006. It's both a response to those articles and an attempt to spell out more personal thoughts.

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Anyone who knows me knows that the two big interests in my life have always been science and religion. Both interests put me outside the mainstream. Being interested in their convergence put me at the very edges of conventional views. But I saw them as two sides of the same coin: both are looking at the same thing (the world, reality), just seeing it from different directions.

Things are very different now. With the takeover of the American government by religious fundamentalists and their attacks in recent years on the scientific enterprise, "religion" once again entered into mainstream awareness. After the 9/11 attacks by religious terrorists, no one, no matter how personally uninterested in religion they may be, can say it's not important.

Unfortunately, "religion" quickly came to mean religious fundamentalism and identified with intolerance, ignorance and superstition. A backlash by reasonable people, especially the rationalists of the scientific world, was expected, and it has arrived.

In the month or so prior Thanksgiving Day, 2006, three significant articles appeared in the mass media with regard to the clash of science and religion. One was TIME magazine's (13 Nov 06) cover essay, "God vs. Science." The drawing on the cover showed a model of the DNA molecule, fading, as in an M. C. Escher drawing, into a Catholic rosary.

The article is as slanted as anything I've ever seen in TIME magazine. It preaches the fundamentalist view and actually mocks scientific knowledge. The TIME authors seemed to be trying to ingratiate themselves with religious fundamentalists; I presume it was a marketing ploy. The article probably was written sometime early in October and the authors seem to have had no clue of the mood of the country that surfaced in the elections a few weeks later.

Another of the three media articles was the NY Times (21 November 2006) report of a conference in La Jolla, CA: "A Free-for-All on Science and Religion." As the "evolutionary evangelist," Michael Dowd, said in his recent web zine, it expresses the backlash against religious fundamentalism from within the science community, and makes quite clear that that backlash is itself a form of fundamentalism, scientific fundamentalism in this case. But neither religious fundamentalism nor scientific fundamentalism is "where it's at," to be sure.

"Where it's at," it seems to me, is best described by the cover essay of US News (15 Oct 06), Is There Room for the Soul? It's about the scientific study of the nature of consciousness. In terms of cultural development, this article is easily a century beyond the silliness of TIME's pro-religious fundamentalism. But it's not easy reading; it shows just how complicated our present situation is. All three articles are on-line. It's the "Room for the Soul?" article I most feel the need to talk about.

It was written by Jay Tolson of the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC, an institution set up for the communication of academic ideas to the non-academic public. It reviews the whole history of the issues involved and tries to spell out the current situation concerning our understanding of what it is-- soul, mind, spirit, consciousness-- that makes us human.

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After many centuries of religious and philosophical dualism-- the division of a human being into a physical body and an immaterial soul, a view originally kicked off by Plato-- science is beginning to work on the question of consciousness. St. Augustine inserted the dualistic idea into western religious thought, Rene Descartes did the same for western secular-scientific thought many centuries later.

The modern scientific effort got off to a good start in late 19th-century Germany, with people like Mesmer, Freud and Jung, and was very significantly carried forward with the work of the American psychologist William James, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). But it got derailed in the early 20th-century by "rats in the maze" psychology and a tremendous amount of fuzzy thinking which we still are dealing with.

Only with the mid-20th century invention of the computer and the technology resulting from it (such as MRIs and other brain scanning tools), has "consciousness studies," as it's usually now called, begun to get itself together. The US News article makes for difficult reading because of its efforts to sort out the fuzzy thinking and lack of clarity involved. Humanity's efforts to move beyond the long-established views of western civilization is not an easy process, to be sure!

At first, I was disappointed when reading the US News article: the research scientist I'm most interested in, the University of Pennsylvania's Andrew Newberg, wasn't mentioned. But surprise! There he was at the very end, his work and that of his late colleague Gene D'Aquili listed almost as a kind of grand climax to the whole essay. Newberg is professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the university's recently founded Center for Spirituality and the Mind.

Friends may remember the report I sent via e-mail last spring of a fascinating conference on Spirituality and Medicine I attended at the University of Pennsylvania, which was organized by Newberg and his associates. Tolson's article presents Newberg's work as the growing edge, "pointing in a promising direction," of the whole movement begun more than a century ago to come to a clear scientific understanding of the nature of human consciousness.

I'd been interested in Newberg's work ever since reports of his research first began to appear in the media back in the early 1990s; but it was only after that March 2006 conference that I got to read his books.

His first book, written with Eugene D'Aquili, is The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Augsburg Fortress, 1999). I found it incomprehensible.

His second book, Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (Ballantine, 2002), was written with the help of a journalist, Vince Rause. It's a bit better; but it's still not very good. It seems that these research scientists don't have good teaching skills. They just don't seem to be able to do a good job at communicating their findings.

Despite my disappointment with both of Newberg's books, I found them very exciting. That sounds contradictory, but it's not. Thanks to Newberg's book, I have, as I said to many, "finally found my vocation in life." Since early Spring last year I've had the feeling that I was about to enter into a whole new phase of my life, and that is indeed what has happened.

As I said in a letter to a friend last summer: 'After all these years, I think I have finally-- in my 69th year!-- found my "field" or "area of interest" or "vocation," my "calling from the universe." '

'I have found [I went on to say] a group of science researchers who put into words the kinds of things I've been interested in all my life; they "think the way I do," is the way I've tried to say it. They are centered in Philadelphia, just across the (Delaware) river, at the University of Pennsylvania; involved in neurological research in connection with religious experience. I am, so it seems, an evolutionary structuralist.'

Newberg's third book, just out, is: Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth (Free Press, 2006). It was written with the therapist Mark Robert Waldman, founder of the academic journal, Transpersonal Review. It's far, far better in every way than those first two books. If you want to read something of Newberg's, I suggest you just skip the earlier books and pick up this one.

I'm saying that (i.e., "skip the earlier books") despite the fact that it was those which provided the spark that probably will keep me going for the rest of my life.

What I've discovered in Newberg's writings is the work of the earlier generation of scientists on which his work is based. His work is a kind of second generation research. It's the work of the first generation, out of which his work is coming, that I've found so fascinating. Newberg spells it out a bit on pages 281-282 of his recent book. It's called Biogenetic Structuralism.

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The work began around 1970 thanks to a chance conference-meeting of Canadian cultural anthropologist, Charles D. Laughlin, and University of Pennsylvania neurologist, John McManus.

They quickly realized that they had something to say together. Their first book, published in 1974, was called simply Biogenetic Structuralism. Their second, which appeared in 1979, is The Spectrum of Ritual: A Biogenetic Structural Analysis. Both were published by Columbia University Press. A third appeared in 1990, Brain, Symbol & Experience (New Science Library).

I'm not exaggerating when say that these scientists seem to be dealing with the same things I've considered important all my life and that the best way I can describe it is that their way of thinking seems to be my way of thinking, too.

An interesting sidelight: used copies of the first and third of these three books are readily available via Amazon. But copies of the middle one, on ritual, aren't. No used copies were listed by any of the used-book sellers; even the publisher had none left (Rosy contacted them for me). 

But then a copy became listed by a used-books seller. The price: $1,870.00. I wrote asking if maybe the decimal had been displaced. "Is it really $18.70?" Nope, said the seller. But he also mentioned that he knew of another seller who had just listed a copy, in much less good shape than his, for only $90. My Scotch genes rebelled, but Rosy and Anne encouraged me to get it. "Think of it as an old-age extravagance." So I did. I've made a little shrine for it over my desk.

It feels good to have discovered where I fit in with the human enterprise of trying to understand human existence. And to know that my religious interests, especially in liturgy and ritual, and my scientific interests, especially in biological and cosmic evolution, have a central place in the contemporary scientific study of consciousness.

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The term "structuralism" in Biogenetic Structuralism comes from the famous European anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss. Essentially it's an emphasis, previously lacking, surprisingly, in scientific and sociological thought, on how the parts of a whole fit together and relate to one another. It seems so elementary, but it really was a new way of looking at things, hardly more than a half-century ago.

Most of us, myself included, have very little sense of what the science of cultural anthropology is about. But it is of major significance. It might be described briefly by an analogy with psychology. As psychology deals with individuals, asking: How do people act? What do individuals do? and Why do they do it?, so the emphasis in cultural anthropology is on how people act in groups (ethnic groups, large or small societies, even whole cultures): What do societies and cultures do? and Why do groups of people do what they do?

Personally, this seems to me to be the most fascinating area of science-- ever. I said many times, long before I discovered Biogenetic Structuralism, that I would love to have majored in cultural anthropology when I was in college-- had I known in those days that there was such a thing.

The term "biogenetic" in Biogenetic Structuralism is simply a synonym for "evolutionary." Thus the evolutionary structuralist perspective seeks not only to understand how and why people act as they do in social groups; it also takes into account the entire biological history of life on earth in doing so: it see humans, individuals and humanity as a whole, as the major result on planet Earth of cosmic and biological evolution.

Biogenetic Structuralism clearly holds to a non-dualist perspective, in that it does not put humans in a unique category outside the rest of the natural world but, rather, sees us an integral part of the evolution of the universe. It recognizes that human cultures and civilization have their roots in the behavior of our animal ancestors, just as the human body has its roots in the chemical compounds of which it is composed-- and just as the chemical elements themselves have their roots the galaxies and stars where they were first produced.

Although many would think so, this view does not in any way deny soul or spirit or mind, but it does enlarge and expand our perspectives tremendously; and it offers the beginnings of a much more mature understanding of the religious aspects of our human existence. Today, we know far more about our roots in the past than Plato or Augustine ever could. They did their best in their day; we should do no less in ours to deepen our understanding of human existence.

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Religious activities, rites and symbols are, of course, a major object of study for cultural anthropology. And even though, until recently, most anthropological field work was done among the so-called "primitive" tribes in places like Africa or in the Amazon Basin, for example, its findings apply equally to all of humanity's religious activities. This includes everything from a shamanic healing ceremony in New Guinea to a Lakota sun dance in South Dakota, and from a Catholic mass at a nearby suburban parish to Buddhist meditators in the Himalayas.

The evolutionary emphasis in Biogenetic Structuralism seeks to look at all of these religious ritual activities in the same terms as do those scientists in the field of ethology who study things like the territorial rituals of wolves and the courtship rituals of birds. The Biogenetic Structuralist viewpoint puts much emphasis on using the one same language to understand and talk about such behavior across the spectrum of living things-- humanity, of course, not excluded.

To me, this is one of the most significant things about Biogenetic Structuralism. It's a new viewpoint, for most of us, to see that our social behavior has its roots in the behavior of our animal ancestors, just as our human anatomy and physiology has its roots in the anatomy and physiology of those same pre-human ancestors. This is not a denial of human uniqueness but, rather, a clear look at its roots, and thus allows us an even greater appreciation of that uniqueness we call consciousness (or soul or spirit or mind).

All this sounds complicated. And, indeed, it is. But there's even one additional and very major component of Biogenetic Structuralism that I need to mention: neurology, the study of the brain and nervous system. And, again, specifically in terms of its evolutionary development.

The Biogenetic Structuralist perspective looks at the anatomy and physiology of the brain in terms of its evolutionary development from those primitive flatworms that have only a few hundred nerves cells to the much more complex reptilian and mammalian brains, including our own-- with its billions of nerve cells combined into astoundingly complex arrangements. The human brain is the most complex thing known to us in the whole universe, and just as we know far more about our roots in the past than Plato or Augustine ever could, so we know more about the workings of the brain than Descartes could ever have imagined.

A major goal of the biogenetic structuralist perspective is to understand how the individual and social behavior of animals and humans is related to the workings of the brain and nervous system. Thus it combines the findings of neurology and cultural anthropology. And here, too, the ideal is to be able to use the one same language to talk about both neurological processes and our cultural behavior: to use the same words to relate how people act-- as individuals and in social groups-- with what's going on in the brain.

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This perspective is referred to as "monist" or "non-dualist." Sometimes it's called "unitary" or "unitive." As I said earlier, it's not in any way a denial of what people call soul, spirit, mind, psyche, consciousness, but simply an attempt to understand both matter and spirit in a more updated way than was available to us previously.

For many of us, it's not easy even to keep each of these various perspectives together in our minds at one time, so it's not surprising that we don't yet have any commonly recognizable name for what might be called "neurological anthropology."

But that's where humanity's "at." That's the growing edge of the contemporary effort at human self-understanding in terms of our material and biological origins and our cultural and religious perspectives. The contemporary scientific enterprise uses all the information that's available to us; it tries not to leave anything out. It's the very opposite of both religious fundamentalism and its present backlash, scientific fundamentalism. And as I've said: I find all this to be as attractive and fascinating as anything I've come across in my life.

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Personally, I feel that I was born into both an evolutionary world and a religious world. I never saw them in contradiction. They seem to be about the same thing, just looked at from different directions. In my many years of teaching at various levels, I often said to students in a scientific (and sometimes anti-religion context), "There's more to religion than it seems." And in a religious (and frequently anti-science context) I usually said the same thing. (Not, "there's more to science than it seems," but there's more to our religious traditions than it seems.")

And there is, indeed, more: there's an inner core of wisdom at the depth of the Judeo-Christian tradition which got lost precisely due to the body-soul and matter-spirit dualism which dominated western culture and religion for so long.

And as odd as it might seem to religious fundamentalists, contemporary science is helping us reclaim it.

It's understandable that when the modern scientific attitude first emerged a few centuries ago, it rejected the soul-spirit side of dualism, just as religious dualism had long since devalued and rejected the body-matter side. We're finally moving beyond that split. Our schizophrenic culture has the potential to be healed, and it's especially via the findings of the neurological and anthropological sciences that that healing can happen.

So that's where I find myself.

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I don't have anything more to say about the "God vs. Religion" article in TIME than I said earlier. I'd like to think of it as the dying gasps of the arrogance that has pervaded religious fundamentalism in recent years.

I do have some comments on the "Free-For-All" report in the NY Times. One the things it points to is the gross deficiencies we have permitted to exist in both our science education and religious education programs.

For example, the report says that there is among scientists "a rough consensus that the grand stories of evolution by natural selection and the blossoming of the universe from the Big Bang are losing out in the intellectual marketplace." If that's true, then clearly it is the science establishment's fault. The academic and research science world needs to pay far more attention to what's going on in science education at the college, secondary and primary levels.

The article quotes a Dr. Porco of the Space Science Institute saying, “Let’s teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty." Yes, let's!

Then she adds, "It is already so much more glorious and awesome — and even comforting — than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know.” That comment shows her ignorance.

But it's an ignorance which isn't her fault. That she can't see that science's story and religion's story are the same story is religion's fault. Dualistic religion is what split the world into matter and spirit, so religion has to shape up, no less than science. Indeed, religion has to shape up even more than science.

Sam Harris, a doctoral student in neuroscience, has the right idea. He says that both scientists and religious people have to begin questioning people’s deeply felt beliefs.

There is after all only one reality, and the most fundamental human response to it is awe and wonder, which is the basis for both scientific discovery and religious participation in the world's progressive unfolding. As Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, said: “Something fundamental is going on in people’s minds when they confront things they don’t understand.” Indeed! Some of us call it an experience of "mystery." And it's precisely neurological studies that can help us understand the nature of such experience.

And of course we need a sense of meaning and purpose, as the evolutionary biologist Francisco J. Ayala mentioned. But our sense of "identity" or "significance" (our "sacredness," as we can say in a religious context) comes from a different part of the psyche than does information from the thinking processes so extensively used by science. 

We need a wholistic understanding of how the mind works. And neurological studies like those of Andrew Newberg and associates can make a great contribution to that understanding.

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I have a few comments on the US News "Room for the Soul?" article. It has seven sections; the last two, despite their harsh-sounding titles (Survival Machines and Hard-Line), are well-worth whatever time and energy we can give them.

If modern science's evolutionary perspectives help us understand where we fit into "the grand scheme of things," consciousness studies deals with the even more basic question, "Why?" The question "What is our place?" probably is the most comprehensive question we can ask. But asking, "What's our purpose?" takes us even deeper.

Before saying something about that, however, I want to mention another side of the issue of moving beyond dualism that's easily overlooked: the fact that a non-dualistic view of the world changes our understanding of matter as much as it changes our understanding of mind.

Dualistic scientists want to describe us as "nothing more than Darwinian survival machines." That's the "nothing but" view, called "reductive materialism," which dominated experimental science from its beginnings in the 17th century to the early 20th century.

But we know now, especially from physics and quantum mechanics, that the further one goes down the scale of physical reality, the less "material" matter appears to be. It's been said that "at bottom, there is no materiality." In Tolson's words, "The further we look into the flux of particles and waves at subatomic levels, the more reality seems to consist of nonmaterial information, pure potentialities of matter or energy, but not quite either."

The basic source of the material world, including life and consciousness, is sometimes called the Plenum ("Fullness") or the Quantum Sea or the Implicate Order. New Cosmologist Brian Swimme's phrase is "the all-nourishing abyss." Some call it the Hindu "Akashic Field" or the Buddhist "Void." One of my favorites comes from Chinese Taoism, where it's named the "Great Mother": the "No-thing from which comes every thing." That there are names for it from the ancient Asian traditions shows that it's not a new idea. Using the language of waves and particles, western science became aware of it early in the 20th-century, so it's not even a new idea in the world of contemporary science.

Most surprising and radical, and as yet not part of the conventional perspectives of our culture, contemporary science says that consciousness itself makes a difference to our understanding of matter. What we humans observe apparently depends on our observation of it. That is, human consciousness influences how physical reality shows itself.

As Tolson puts it, "Not only quantum mechanics but a number of new fields such as the science of complexity put into question the whole enterprise of explaining reality in terms of bottom-up causality alone." 

By "bottom-up causality" he means understanding the mind in terms of matter. From quantum physics we're coming to see that we need "top-down" causality too: we need to understand matter in terms of mind, not just mind in terms of matter.

It's clear now that neither "mind" nor "matter" mean today what those terms have meant for the last few centuries and longer. There's more to both mind and matter than Plato, Augustine or Descartes ever knew. 

They were giants in their day, but with regard to an understanding of our own past, the nature of the cosmos, and the functioning of the brain and psyche, we know far more than they did; we don't need to remain stuck with their dualistic understandings.

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It is a big change, to be sure. We're in the middle of an immense transition to these new perspectives. But that's precisely what cultural evolution means: as we learn more, our understanding of the world we live in changes, improves, gets better. We're still young, newcomers to the planet. As an immature species, we have a lot of growing to do: we have much still to learn.

And none of it will take anything away from the best of the past. Part of our present task is to sort out what's no longer useful or valid, as important as it may have seemed in earlier, less-informed contexts.

One of the main things that's being said in Tolson's "Room for the Soul?" article is that just as biological life is something more than merely the chemical elements and compounds which compose it, so the human mind is something more than just living matter. And it's this "more" which is, at the human level, the source of meaning for us.

As Tolson puts it, "If the fundamental levels of reality are more informational than material, as quantum physics suggests, then consciousness may be the interface between the fundamental quantum world of information and the "classical" physical world that is more accessible to our senses." That is, consciousness may be the interface between the Quantum Sea or Plenum and the world we see, touch, hear and experience.

From the new scientific perspectives, it may be that the mind (soul, spirit, person) is, in Tolson's words, "a profoundly complex emergent system whose capacity for intentional acts and creative discoveries connects it with the underlying order of reality." He's saying that we are its manifestations.

That's where our understanding of the "Why do humans do what they do?" comes from. We not only have a better sense of our place in the scheme of things, we also have a much better sense of our purpose. It would appear that, via both our personal and cultural development, we have a contribution to make, a creative role to play in the evolution of the universe.

Has anyone said things like this before? Yes, indeed! Two of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century: the Jesuit paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Russian Orthodox Sophiologist, Sergius Bulgakov. In Bulgakov's words, the human role in the evolution of the universe is to contribute to the "actualization of the divine potentialities."

Teilhard worked in the physical sciences and Bulgakov worked in the social sciences (economics). It's thanks especially to these two 20th-century geniuses that we are able to recover that more of religion which I described above as "the inner core of wisdom at the depth of the Judeo-Christian tradition which got lost precisely due to the body-soul and matter-spirit dualism which dominated western culture and religion for so long."

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But what is a person? What is it that we are? That's the essential question of consciousness studies. What is this "profoundly complex emergent system," as Tolson describes it, that we call "mind" (person, soul, spirit) and which has the "capacity for intentional acts and creative discoveries" and thereby connects us "with the underlying order of reality"?

Tolson quotes the very first line from Francis Crick's 1994 book, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul. Crick was the discoverer, along with James Watson, of the double helical structure of DNA. He's obviously in the fundamentalist, "bottom-up," camp in his understanding of consciousness. He attacks the dualistic idea of body-soul directly by reducing the mind to nothing but matter in the 19th-century pre-quantum sense: "The Astonishing Hypothesis," he says, "is that 'You,' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."

Surely we can do better. Not only can we understand that by our "intentional acts and creative discoveries" we are connected with-- indeed manifestations of-- "the underlying order of reality." It may be, as Tolson also points out, that our consciousness is not, in fact, any thing.

Note that saying "it's not a thing" doesn't mean consciousness isn't real or that the mind doesn't exist, but only that "thing" may not be an accurate way to understand it.

As Tolson says, "Here, Christians and others might turn to the wisdom of Buddhism, in which the self is correctly understood not as an entity or substance but as a dynamic process." Note that the Buddhist concept does not suggest (as is commonly thought) that the self is nonexistent but that the mystery of the self cannot be reduced to any kind of substance, essence or thing. (What Buddhism does negates is the reality of the self-affirming "big ego" kind of self.)

Consciousness studies seems to be saying, as Tolson suggests, something similar to what Buddhism means when it sees the self as a process rather than a substance. And this makes great sense. If the cosmos is a dynamic process, and each of us is an "interface" with (or an "epiphany" of) that dynamic quantum world, then in our deepest reality we too must be a dynamic cosmic process.

So Francis Crick's statement would be quite accurate, if we simply changed his "nothing more than" to "nothing less." Keeping in mind the perspectives of quantum physics that the physical cosmos, biological life and human consciousness are manifestations of the underlying Quantum Sea, here's how I'd phrase Crick's opening sentence: Via the behavior of the vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules in the brain, 'You,' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are nothing less than a glorious manifestation of reality in all its fullness.

If we use Bulgakov's words, it becomes a truly astonishing hypothesis: You, via the nerve cells and molecules in your brain, are an actualization of the divine potentialities. In more traditional religious language: Each of us is an incarnation of the divine mystery, a "unique-in-all-the-world dynamic manifestation of the Mystery of God."

And as a uniquely self-constructed actualization of the divine potentialities, it would appear that our purpose, then, is to make a freely given contribution to the evolution of the universe and the divine self-realization.

That's the non-dualist (unitive) view of reality, understood from a non-fundamentalist religious perspective. And there are some within the Christian tradition who have been saying similar things for a number of years now: that we have much we can learn from the Asian "unitive" traditions.

Perhaps familiar examples would include the Frenchman, Henri Le Saux; the British monk and friend of C. S. Lewis, Bede Griffiths; and the Spanish-Indian theologian Raimon Panikkar. And in our own country, Bruno Barnhart and his fellow monks of the Camaldolese Benedictine order at Big Sur in California.

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It may seem like a enormous jump to go from quantum theory to theology; and it is! But that's the whole point. At least that's my whole point. Science and religion are indeed "two sides of the same coin," two different views of the one same world, looked at from different directions.

As I said earlier, Tolson's concludes his article with mention of the work of Andrew Newberg. He says Newberg's work as professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of his university's recently founded Center for Spirituality and the Mind is a "cross-disciplinary program devoted in part to the fledgling field of "neuro-theology."

Tolson also notes that "In one respect, this venture [in neuro-theology] marks yet another return to the legacy of William James, whose masterful Varieties of Religious Experience" appeared 100 years ago. As I also said earlier, Tolson's essay ends with the very positive comment about the findings of Newberg and his late colleague, Eugene D'Aquili," that they "point in a promising direction."

It's taken me ten pages to get to where I can say: I want to follow in that promising direction.

I don't usually read the daily horoscopes, but I often check them on the birthdays of friends and relatives. Back on my own birthday in November of 2005, my horoscope said: "You are beginning a new phase of your life." My response: "I'll take it!"

And it was about six months later, in June of this year, that thanks to the work of Andrew Newberg and his biogenetic structuralist predecessors in cultural anthropology and neurological studies, I was able to say, 'I have finally-- in my 69th year!-- found the name for my "calling from the universe." ' I got the name slightly wrong when I said "I am an evolutionary structuralist," but it was close enough.

In future entries, I'd like to try to spell out what I see as some of the interesting lines of thought about the convergence of science and religion I'm hoping to pursue with the help of Biogenetic Structuralism.

sam@macspeno.com

1 comment:

Sam said...

While trying to eliminate numerous spam comments, I inadvertently deleted all comments at the END of the posts up until #90. BUT... they are still preserved in the collections of comments found in posts #32, #67 and #83.

One set of comments, however-- for posts #84 to #89-- has been completely lost. If you happen to have copied any of them, I'd much appreciate your sending a copy to me so I can restore them. Thanks.