Shifting Assumptions in Science

Shifting Assumptions in Science


[Sahtouris] Hello, I’m Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris,
and we’re here at beautiful Lake Toya in Hokkaido for a symposium on the Foundations of Science.
We’re looking into the basic belief assumptions that underlie Western Science, in order to
see how the paradigm shift is occurring in science nowadays, with some people still in
academia doing more traditional science, and many of us who have left academia and are
outside science developing new kinds of assumptions in order to do new theories and new research. ** Our foundational scientific assumptions [Sahtouris] We’re going to get to how to build
a new science, but today we’re on our personal assumptions, OK. It’s very important for us
to lay that groundwork and then figure out how to make this into a credible science. [Genku Kimura] Even when people ask some questions,
hidden assumptions are already implied. So questions are determined by the assumptions
and answers that come out also are determined by assumptions. So, assumption really gives
a whole context. So it is very, very, very important that we become cognisant and aware
of our hidden assumptions. We hold many, many, many assumptions unknowingly, unconsciously.
So, when we talk about science or anything, we don’t talk about nothing, we talk about
something. So you already have an assumption that, you know, the topics on which you are
talking exist. [Josephson] You could say one is deciding
something is real not only in the basis of something fairly direct or even a measurement,
but theoretical models come in as well because science is trying to unify, it’s trying
to produce, trying to find out models that have maximum explanatory power. [Genku Kimura] What do I consider to be real?
You know, James Jeans defined science as an attempt at setting order, a factual experience,
the question is what kind of experience are we actually setting in order, but it comes
across to my own assumption that whatever shows up in the field of my experience, I
consider to exist. Therefore, this shows up in the field of my experience, therefore,
this experience, this exists. Also when I had this — everybody has these kind of a
cosmic spiritual experience that are not sensorily accessible, somehow spiritually accessible,
that’s also a part of my field of experience, they also exist. And so that is my fundamental
premise or assumption regarding reality, that it shows in my experience and experience has
a wide range, from sensory all the way to spiritual or you can call mystical. [Samanta-Laughton]: I’m just making the
observation, having heard a few of the comments, that there’s the assumption [either] that
reality is what we perceive to our consciousness, or [that] reality is consciousness itself,
because some people are talking about, nothing can exist unless it’s conceived of or imagined
… [Sahtouris]: Both [Samanta-Laughton]: Both. Yes, that’s what
I’m getting. I’m getting both … these two different things are emerging are two
complementary or two the same … [Sahtouris]: I think it’s complementary,
yes. [Samanta-Laughton]: Well, it is interesting
because -— as they said, it’s like I’ve sort of experienced reality more as, it’s
consciousness that creates reality. ** Consciousness and Emotions [Bakar] The mainstream assumption is precisely
that, that everything is explainable within physical reality. So if we take consciousness
then, based on that assumption, consciousness has to be explained as a kind of product of
physical processes [but] we can talk about cosmic consciousness as a whole … Now we
didn’t talk about the multiple consciousnesses that constitute the entire cosmic consciousness
and even beyond, the meta-cosmic consciousness. And we need to go to biology–I mean, from
cosmology, we need to go to the particular domain which is in biology in order to understand
life, what life is and what consciousness is, we have to now define the different attributes
that categorise each of these different aspects of consciousness, or different levels of consciousness.
And I just want to raise that, because I think so far we have been talking about it in a
rather general way. [Texier]: I think one of the failures of science
unto the moment is that they put emotions outside. And if we are thinking in consciousness
science like Yasu was telling yesterday, we have to include love. That’s very difficult
for science, for academics but I think that it’s an, important ingredient to the new science,
including emotions. Now, we can work emotion beside science because we have the tools. ** Qualitative and Quantitative Science [Genku Kimura] So, there is an assumption
in science, you know, that what is not quantified does not exist, maybe. And you know, in our
own way of thinking, maybe, we can expand that definition into something more than just
quantifiability or communicability, so that’s my thought. [Tiller] So, quantitative science is higher
on the hierarchy than the whole range of science. Quantitative is better than—it’s more
discriminating than qualitative. And that is a very important differentiation and that’s
one of the reasons that western science has been so powerful– it’s because it has been
quantitative which means it lead to engineering, which means it needs to the manufacture of
things reliably reproducible, etc. So I am glad you brought that point up—it is very
important. [Josephson] That makes it limited, as well. [Tiller] Oh of course it does, absolutely. [Texier] I agree with you, because-—I intend
to say that I think the problem is not science, it’s not technology. It’s the use and what
we propose to do with this because I think that for years, science and rationalism become
the king and conduce the humanity, they put out the quality, okay? And I think that they
have to be both. [Samanta-Laughton] So I agree with the quantitative
versus qualitative. Well, it’s both and they’re both beautifully complementary and whether
things are processes or things it’s useful to think of both as ??? said, and Mr. Shoji
said also, it depends on the level to which you are looking at things. [Sahtouris] You can’t do the holistic thinking
when you have to abstract only what you currently can measure in something and I do recognise
that you want to be able to handle more and more variables in your quantifiability but
there is a question to me whether the goal should be to only move it all into quantification
or whether we need the holistic quality picture of things and I think we will always need
it and that it has to be seen as not a superiority of one over the other, not a goal of going
entirely into the right or the left into quantifying or qualitative but to truly be aware that
any new science must have this complementarity and that means the respect of the quantifiers
for the qualifiers, right? This is absolutely critical because if they keep thinking that
theirs is a superior one, eventually all that fuzzy stuff will come into our domain, it’s
not going to work right. ** The principle of group emergence [Ward (moderator)] What I understand through
our conversation–I had forgotten why–is that is why listening to others, why everyone’s
here, is to go beyond the individuality of our knowing and in coherence to allow something
greater than that to emerge. And so, a significant part of that is the connectedness. [Samanta-Laughton] When a group mind comes
together, what happens is information comes through from the universe that isn’t within
any individual here. It’s when the group comes together that magical emergence comes
and we create something together that is bigger as a group than any of our individuals. That’s
what I was talking about. not an explosion of … [Tiller] Can I add to that, I meant it in
the following way, because I usually have this kind of thing happen often with my consulting
work. You could tune to the individual you’re consulting with, to the place where you’re
so paying attention, but you’re in tune, and the bandwidths of your consciousness combine,
and in the larger bandwidth information can flow in, you couldn’t have imagined that,
I think that’s what you’re talking about. [Samanta-Laughton] That’s what I’m saying
… ** Developing intuition and imagination in
science [Tiller] … it is that we should teach people
how to develop their intuition because in these multi-variable problems, you really
need to use this skill. It’s a natural human skill. [Sahtouris]: Okay, and that’s your insight. [Samanta-Laughton] I just really, really want
to echo what Elisabet was saying and what Bill is agreeing with as well and from my
own experience, when I developed as a mystic following my kind of Kundalilni experience
over a number of years, and it also helped that my scientific life, it all came together
as a oneness and some of you have read the book Punk Science so you know about my experience
when I was actually in nature and I had—I was actually thrown into the universe consciousness
itself and the universe consciousness came to me as a revelation but not as someone of
an indigenous culture might have experienced it. For me, it was particles, it was Hawking
radiation, it was an understanding that melted together completely my mystical and my academic
nature as one, there was no separation. [Josephson] Well, I think it’s all very well
to say science clearly includes intuition but you still have to make a big cultural
change before anything will happen and before it becomes part of people’s training I guess.
So it’s just—it’s difficult to see a whole project, but we might think about how one
might go about it, what kind of courses there might be, and clarify what the role of intuition
is and what happens if you … [Shoji] the problems and challenges that we
face in society are due to the fact that we lack imagination and creativity. People tend
to memorise what is learned from others, and therefore if you try to really find out a
better answer, you need to do more than just memorising. In other words, each one of us
has to think in our own way. Otherwise, the problems and the challenges would still remain
in society. That’s what I feel. ** Current assumptions underlying science [Josephson]: I just want to make a comment
which really reflect to a big subject. There’s been comment about the unconscious assumptions
of science and that people don’t know the assumptions that there’s working on, but I
think that’s not the case they have been spelt out, that science is based on experiment
and public observation and so on. So, that is not really the issue, the deeper assumption
is that is the only valid approach to knowledge. [Genku Kimura] Assumptions become dogmatic
assumptions, but there is a distinction. [Josephson]: Surely all dogmas are assumption,
but not all assumptions are dogmas. [Sahtouris] Exactly. [Genku Kimura] And there are assumptions that
gave rise to those dogmas. [Elisabet]: Yes. So give us an example. [Yasuhiko Genku Kimura]: One of the fundamental
assumptions that science has is this ‘reality is physical reality’ that Manjir talked about,
that is more like a fundamental philosophical assumption. [Sahtouris]: That’s what I call the non-living
universe. [Genku Kimura]: Yes, the non-living universe. [Sahtouris]: I am fascinated by the fact that
the concept of non-life doesn’t seem to exist in any other human cultures except possibly
was invented by the ancient Greeks when they invented the geometry of the spheres and so
forth. But it’s so deep an assumption that you’re considered virtually crazy if you
suggest that it’s not a non-living universe. [Shoji] Some say, the earth is not living.
Such people may be actually positioned in a non-living domain. In other words, if you
think the earth is living, then you would have contact with the earth as an interaction
between the other living things. If you treat the earth as something not living then that
would already put yourself in an inorganic domain. So the earth could be considered as
living or non-living depending on the way people approach it. It’s completely different
from the scientist’s point of view. [Genku Kimura]: Shoji says very profound things,
matter of factly. When he said that when somebody sees something non-living, there must be a
something within human heart that is there, that is a very profound statement. So changing
the assumption from non-living universe to living universe has a tremendous, tremendous,
tremendous significance and I’m sure we all know this but it’s really, really important
and so when I came across a lot of cancer patients because of my past association with
them. When you go to the doctors, they treat the body, they treat people like, just machine.
So once we shift our thinking into seeing everything as alive, that will have a tremendous
impact, and I just want to emphasize. And reverse of what he said is true, so if you
are dead, you see something to be dead, but once you begin to see things alive, then the
deadness within them is going to be divine. ** Towards new assumptions and a new view
of science [Samanta-Laughton]: Yes. Okay completely change
in direction. New assumptions, new assumption is that the characteristics that make an organism
what it is, is not reliant on the DNA sequence of genes, and that’s after the Human Genome
Project. [Genku Kimura]: Can you change your sentence
from a negative statement to a positive statement? [Bakar]: You are actually responding to a
certain assumption in current biology. So what is that assumption that you are questioning? [Samanta-Laughton]: The original assumption?
Yes you’re right–there is something underlying that. The original assumption is that DNA
is primary and responsible for all the characteristics as the organism. So if we change it around,
we have to say that the new assumption is that there is something other than DNA that
is responsible for the characteristics of the organism. [Sahtouris]: The evolution of species is an
intelligent learning process in nature. That’s an assumption I make based on my perception
of what happens–and it’s very different from Darwin. [Ward]: There doesn’t seem to be any edginess
about that one. [Genku Kimura]: I have a question. So if you
make that assumption in place of the Darwinian assumption, what are the possibilities that
come out of this assumption which was not available from the Darwinian assumption? [Elisabet Sahtouris]: Well there is already
evidence for things that have been built on that assumptions. For instance, Barbara McClintock’s
work showed that DNA can intelligently rearrange itself under stress and so did Esher Ben-Jacob’s
work in Israel. So there are quite a few experiments showing that DNA literally rearranges itself
to meet a particular stress problem. [Samanta-Laughton]: And John Cairns as well. [Sahtouris]: Yes Cairns has done it. And then
there’s also the evidence that type I and type III ecosystems have the first one largely
competitive species and the second largely cooperative species and I posit the theory
that there’s a learning process that shows that feeding your enemies is more energy efficient
than killing them and this would be a very important implication for society if this
were understood by all of us. [Genku Kimura]: So the possibility that comes
up from that assumption is tremendous. And I think when we choose assumptions that are
wonderful in a criteria to chose because some assumptions kind of close possibilities whereas
this assumption actually opens up a new possibility. One more question. So are you [Josephson]
talking about a complementarity as a new emerging principle in science or… [Josephson]: Well as an old principle. There’s
more interesting things like that now. [Genku Kimura]: Yes. And I know in Chinese
anyway—so is it like emerging as a new assumption — complementary [being] essential for the
process or the phenomena in the universe? [Josephson]: No, I meant old in conventional
terms. Yes when quantum mechanics came out it was realised as Elisabet said [something
can be] sometimes it is a wave, sometimes it is a particle depending on how you look
at it. There is a lecture of mine you can see on the internet on how — Bohr argued
life might have to be viewed differently which is very relevant to our present discussion.
He was bludgeoned into giving up the idea. I argued that it was a perfectly valid idea
and is an important one. [Sahtouris]: What was the perfectly valid
idea that Bohr got talked out of? [Josephson]: Complementarity of physics and
biology, that biology might not be explicable according to ordinary quantum mechanics. [Tiller} Let me add that basically, people
have been arguing about that ever since the beginnings of quantum mechanics and it is
a very, very confused subject. If you look at the writings it just goes down the history,
and it’s basically stated in a way that’s very very complex because there are many features
in it that are not simply a part of complementarity in nature. Would you agree, Brian? [Josephson]: Yes, I think the fact that biosystems
are complex is important as well. [Bakar]: I think the relationship between
biology and physics is a very important issue. It is important now, and it is going to be
more important in our new, global science. Of course, we are looking for a more authentic
relationship between biology and physics. We go for a new biology, new physics, so our
new vision will bring about … perhaps the relationship between the two will become closer. [Samanta-Laughton]: For me, it’s beautiful
what’s happening at the moment with these so-called theories of everything — they are
all showing similar patterns and I think that’s a beautiful point. At this point in humanity
everyone is seeing a new aspect of consciousness, a new aspect of the universe, but they’re
seeing it through their own lens, so if we can put our egos aside and actually say that
we all have a part of the picture — you know, that’s the way to move forward. ** Global sciencing [Sahtouris] When I use ‘global’, the way I
meant it was ‘globalisng’ Western science, and so it’s taught in Kuala Lumpur, in China
and all over the place, it has been adopted lock, stock and barrel, and I want to make
the distinction between a globally adopted Western science and a truly Global Science.
I think it’s important that we recognise that we’re talking about two different things,
the new science that we want to take to the world, the consciousness-inclusive, this new
science, and the concept of a global science where any culture can set basic beliefs on
which to build hypotheses and be counted as science. If they do proper methodology and
definitions, and acknowledgment of axioms, the idea of opening it up, that there’s not
one true science, or the ‘one true science’ that actually says it’s the only science at
present, and we need to open that space so that the new science can be included in science
without invalidating Western science. And, also open it to ancient sciences, to the way
young people will develop science, and that’s what I mean by Global Science. [Ward]: And can I get clear, is that the primary
aim of this symposium, to promote the idea of this all-inclusive science, called at the
moment global science? [Sahtouris]: The primary goal is, to reassess
the foundations of Western science so that we can see what it means to build a science,
to flesh out what we mean by our new science, and to create a container for other people
to do similar things in the world under the rubric of a global science. [Genku Kimura]: A common feature that I can
detect among all those sciences is that it is an interpretive theory in the sense that
David Bohm defined, interpretive theory that has inner coherence. And coherence does not
mean logical in the sense of — you know — Aristotelian logic as such; there can be many different
forms of logic or coherence — somehow, a theory has inner coherence. [Tiller]: You mean an inner self-consistency? [Genku Kimura]: Self-consistency. Yes, or
inner integrity. So one common feature, whether it is Western science, or Vedic science, or
whatever the science we now term science, it is a formal theory, or theory in the sense
of the perspective from which to see, and it is an interpretive theory, of phenomena,
that has inner self-consistency. [Sahtouris]: Well by Western science’s own
definition of science I think there are other sciences and they don’t, by it’s own definition. [Genku Kimura]:I understand. I mean — science
needs knowledge. [Sahtouris]: Well, it means ordering your
knowledge in a particular way, making explicit your foundations, creating theories, hypotheses,
doing research, getting answers, interpreting them, repeating them, you know, all of these
things. [Bakar]: If we go along with this definition
of global science, as presented by Elisabet, then that [deals with] the concern that you
have raised, precisely because the global science here includes the ancient sciences
and other traditional sciences, and I, in particular, would like to refer to a living
culture, one living culture which is my own living culture– tradition, Islam, in which
precisely. I mean, we use the word science to refer to a systematically organised body
of knowledge with well-defined subject matter, which of course any science must have, its
own assumptions, its own methodological instance of methodology, and goals that it seeks to
achieve, all those define what science is. In the history of Western science, we have
that narrow definition, I think that started with the British philosopher, William Whewell,
when he began to define science in terms of method. In other words, there’s only one
method
by which you should define science. If truths and realities cannot be ascertained or cannot
be verified according to that method, then it doesn’t qualify to be science. That’s
why there was once a point in the history of modern Western thought when psychology
was considered as a pseudoscience, not as a real science. So, in other words we have
different historical experience, but I think the beautiful thing in Elisabet’s definition
is that by including the other non-Western sciences whether ancient that have died out
but others were still very much alive until today … [Texier]: I don’t know when, exactly, but
I think in the history of the Western science when it becomes a colonialist, and now we
are in post colonialist times, of humanity. So the word that comes to me is dialogue,
which is what we need, this dialogue, reciprocally with the order science. [Bakar]: What I’m saying is based on fact.
What are the facts? Facts are … we know they exist. There are many traditions, many
cultures, which have different visions of reality, not looking at it as a machine but
as something else … with practical implications. This is a very important thing, why we insist
on this new global science, because the kind of vision of reality that we have will influence
the kind of culture that we have. So many cultures are now starting to decay because
they are forced to live with just the vision of modern science. [Texier]: … science has a strategic nature
because it provides us with models and a presentation of reality that guides our perception and
our way of doing things in, and about, the reality. So in postcolonial times such as
the present of humanity [science] must be inclusive and cover the concordance of multiple
skills and all cultural responses for the regulation of individual and social life. [Sahtouris]: I love that finish to the four
because it is making science very human, and it’s saying that our models determine how
people think, in different cultures around the world and determines their behaviour.
It creates their reality because science is telling their creation story and our relationship
to each other and to the universe, and you’ve included all of nature, so it’s
a wonderful finish to it. [end of main symposium; for the participants’
summary statements please refer to the video, starting at 35:56]

10 thoughts on “Shifting Assumptions in Science

  • November 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm
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    hi brian do you think the reaction of the mainstream scientific community against all things paranormal is justified? given that theyve actually demonised the word paranormal. it seems to me that they only thing that will change their minds is personal experience. its a sad state of affairs

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  • November 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm
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    Ultimately I think there will be theories that account for what the mind can do better than materialism does. I asked a colleague if neuroscience can explain mathematical abilities and all he could come up with is that they have identified regions of the brain that respond to particular groups of numbers! Search on 'platonism music josephson' to see some possibilities, though that is quite an ancient paper now.

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  • November 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm
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    yes you hear this all the time,conjecturing that this area is responsible for this thought or that sensation, i just dont believe you can pin the unseen workings of the brain to localised areas

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  • December 1, 2012 at 3:50 am
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    "everything that is within my experience is real…"
    Then what of delusions?
    Our experience shows us that our perceptions are not a reliable path to truth – that is why we test and try and eliminate the personal perspective.
    We *know* that it misleads.

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  • December 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm
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    Good point, hard to answer briefly. Mainly, hallucinations do not accord with our other experience, which is why we reject them personally. But the symposium never regarded the experience of a _single_ individual as highly relevant to truth anyway. Insights of a community who may have been trained to see things that others can't see is seen as relevant though, which accords with how things go with other expert skills.

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  • February 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm
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    The question of the origin of mathematical abilities is a very pertinent one as the logician Kurt Gödel proved mathematically that there are proofs in mathematics that can be seen to be self-evidently valid by mathematicians but which can not be arrived at in an algorithmic or 'computable' manner. So mathematics and logic themselves demonstrate that consciousness can not arise 'mechanically'.

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  • August 6, 2014 at 7:41 am
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    6:51 No, no, no.. Reality is not what we percieve through our consciousness….. nobody assumes that either in quantum physics…. Everybody knows that with quantum physics, everything we consider real is actually not real…

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  • August 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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    In reply to Cognosce te Ipsum. This is indeed what I was querying at the meeting and asking to be clarified during our discussions at the symposium. I was reflecting that I was hearing some people discuss the universe as only in existence through our perceptions whilst others say that consciousness is a ground state from which all else arises. Max Tegmark has recently moved towards the latter stance although this is not his conclusion. The answer from the group was that we were considering both conclusions.

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  • December 12, 2014 at 12:08 am
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    DESTROY  FALSE PARADIGMS! Dear Dr. Brian David Josephson, I have continued to destroy false paradigms using our SOIB Society of Iconoclastic Brians. I routinely remind the Spin Docs of Science, M.Kaku,  Tyson N.de Grasse, et al with twitter posts like 'Settled Science is an Oxymoron, when will you acknowledge the Electrical Nature of our Universe?' Watch science news, Thunderbolts Project. Comet missions Wild 2, Rossetta etc. falsifies their Standard Model. It's an embarassment of western so-called Science

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  • July 28, 2016 at 10:19 pm
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    For western science to incorporate consciousness into science it first must admit it exists. Lots of work to be done. Thanks for the video.

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