Correspondence with Etzel Cardeña

Etzel Cardeña 30 Nov 2016, at 12:53 wrote:

Hi, David et al.: Just now do i have the time to reply to your earlier email. First, I endorse what Max Velmans wrote about the questionable assumptions about consciousness in much of mainstream science. My particular dishes in the consciousness menu are anomalous (i.e., unusual but not necessarily pathological) experiences and psi phenomena. From that perspective, my response to your question what do you consider to be the major limitations of science, as it is currently understood and practised? is that, with regard to ostensible psi phenomena the default position is that they are impossible, despite the evidence for them from spontaneous life events and laboratory research. One can argue, as some in the list have, that some implications from contemporary quantum physics do not per se preclude psi phenomena. But even if that were not the case, one would need to account for the Jamesian “rogue phenomena” that are still there, which a default position discounting of them precludes. Relatedly, as Ed Kelly and others have proposed, there is a default position that consciousness is ONLY a byproduct of the brain processes we know, which not only does not account for psi phenomena but does not even do a good job with more “ordinary” phenomena such as some altered states, memory and extraordinary capacities such as instantaneous calculations. So for me the main limitation is that default positions, which are typically assumed rather than being considered as mere working hypotheses, makes research and theory on “rogue phenomena” difficult and at times hostility-attracting endeavors (see attached paper on censorship in psi), and they perpetuate the default positions by not allowing an open discussion of other options. A related issue is that when research on rogue phenomena is considered, it is held to standards that are not applied to research that follows the default position. My first ideal suggestion is that there should be a level scientific playing field with a questioning of much that has been just assumed.Having said that, I would also question the assumptions in the enclosed document, rather than trying to exchange one default position for another. Can we discuss the relative merits of varying positions?

I also find problematic some other aspects in the document sent to us. For instance on Appendix 3, first assumption, there is the statement that everything is interconnected (which I would rather see as a working hypothesis) and from that there is a daredevil epistemological jump to the conclusion that to really know something we should participate in it. These are completely different issues, one ontological, one epistemological. The latter can be supported by a multiplaristic epistemological perspective a-la-James, rather than by an interconnectedness assumption. My opinion is that if something is going to be made public, it should follow a similar critical and self-critical perspective than the one we demand from the status-quo. I find a lot of nonsense in the way traditional science is often conduced, but I also find a lot of nonsense in the reasoning and research on alternative positions, and if we are going to be critical of one we should be critical of the other as well. On a far less earth-shattering issue, please spell my last name correctly in any statement, i. e., Cardeña, not Cardena. FWIW etzel cardeña