A Galileo Moment

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We are living through a Galileo moment – a very long moment, lasting decades, but a very significant one. Just as the first Galileo moment changed what we believed to be true about the world and ourselves and ushered in science as we know it today, so too will the current Galileo moment change what we believe to be true, and bring with it a new kind of science.

When Galileo looked through his telescope, he realised that we are not at the centre of the Cosmos, but simply orbiting a star. In a letter to Kepler he wrote: “Here at Padua is the principal professor of philosophy, whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and the planets through my glass, which he pertinaciously refuses to do” Many in the Church and in Universities were reluctant to look at the evidence for themselves, because it opposed the established belief system and power structure.

This has striking parallels today. For example, many scientists are unwilling to look at the evidence for consciousness beyond the brain because they are certain in their belief that consciousness cannot extend beyond the brain. It is the authority of science and the fear of scientists for their reputation that prevents them from expanding their view. At the time of Galileo, the infallibility of Scripture was at stake. Now it is the infallibility of scientific materialism that is at stake.

The Scientific and Medical Network set up the Galileo Commission to help facilitate the transition from a science based on a materialist worldview and on the primacy of physical sense evidence to an expanded science based on a spiritually informed worldview and on the admissibility of all forms of human experience as evidence. William James called this “radical empiricism”.

This is not to suggest that, in proposing a new science, we throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Commission is emphatically not anti-science but is questioning the adequacy of scientific materialism as an exclusive approach to understanding the deeper structures of reality and consciousness. The intention is to expand the metaphysical foundations of science in terms of its ontology, epistemology and methodology in ways that more accurately reflect the times we live in and the many discoveries made in the last 100 years.

The first stage of the Commission’s work is to publish a report in the autumn of 2018 that will draw on the great variety of work that has been done on an expanded science, and will make practical recommendations on a constructive way forward. This report has been written by Professor Harald Walach, a specialist in the history and philosophy of science and mind, transpersonal psychology, parapsychology and complementary medicine.

We welcome contributions, particularly in response to the following questions:

  •     Why do you think an expanded science is necessary?
  •     What would its core assumptions be – its ontology?
  •     What would its rules of evidence be – its epistemology?
  •     How would an expanded science be done in practice – its methodologies?
  •    What would be included in a training in expanded science?
  •    How can resistance to expanded science be overcome?

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