Bhante, I think its a good idea to remain skeptical of anything, however well written, if it appeals to our sensibilities. Just because the book seems to support Buddhist notions, doesn't make it a good book.
Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the natural world.
When did I say it's a good book just because it supports Buddhist notions? It's a good book because Stapp is an accomplished quantum physicist whose work accords with what is verifiable in experiental reality. To me, as a Buddhist, that is important. What's wrong with that?
Its a bit of a mistake to confuse science with materialism.
Indeed. But that is what most people do. I was referring to the kind of "methodolatry" that has dominated science for much of the past century, where if it cannot be proven in material-based laboratory experiments, then it is not scientific. Actually, it looks like Stapp's theories even stand up to such a test. Again, not being an expert, I'm in a poor position to judge. I'm not trying to argue with you, and I think you're missing the point that the great thing about this book is it offers a way to explain Buddhism to scientists. Stapp's explanations provide a valid description of physics that accords with the experientially realizable truth found in Buddhist meditation. To me that is a great thing.
yuttadhammo wrote:As to the book, there are a couple of book reviews on the net:
All well and good, but the only review that's of any value that will help determine the reliability of the science is a peer review.
Scholarly peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field, before a paper describing this work is published in a journal. Peer review requires a community of experts in a given (and often narrowly defined) field, who are qualified and able to perform impartial review.
Okay, so when you find a peer review that discredits his work, let me know. I apologize for offering what reviews there are available for basic information about the book. Why are we arguing about this? You make it sound like I have just claimed that the work of Henry Stapp is the correct and only correct interpretation of QP. I didn't do anything of the sort. I'm just pointing out a resource that might be useful to the Buddhist community in terms of getting a sense of how the teachings of the Buddha can be found to fit in nicely with modern scientific theory. But since you're using Wikipedia,
After receiving his PhD in particle physics at the University of California, Berkeley, under the supervision of Nobel Laureates Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain, Stapp moved to ETH Zurich to do post-doctoral work under Wolfgang Pauli. During this period he composed an article called 'Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics', which he never sent for publication, but would become the title of his 1993 book. When Pauli died in 1958, Stapp transferred to Munich, now in the company of Werner Heisenberg. While making important contributions to, inter alia, the analysis of proton-proton scattering and the development of analytic S-matrix theory, Stapp is perhaps most well known for his ongoing work in the foundations of quantum mechanics, with particular focus on explicating the role and nature of consciousness. He is also an expert on Bell's Theorem, having solved problems related to non-locality presented by John Bell and Albert Einstein.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Stapp
As to the word science, here's another quote from his book:
For the word 'science' comes from the Latin word 'scire', 'to know', and what the founders of the new [orthodox quantum] theory claimed, basically, is that the proper subject matter of science is not what may or may not be 'out there', unobserved and unknown to human beings. It is rather what we human beings can know, and can do in order to know more. [...] The focus of the theory was shifted from one that basically ignored our knowledge to one that is about our knowledge, and about the effects of the actions that we take to acquire more knowledge upon what we are able to know.
From my very uneducated pov, this looks more like new-ageism than science.
Then I recommend you educate yourself by reading this book, since the "founders" he is talking about, and whom he quotes as saying these things, are people like Bohr, Pauli and Heisenberg, who certainly have had their work peer reviewed.
"The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior." -- Heisenberg
Incidentally, you have just provided support for my point below, that most people still look at this sort of wisdom as "new-ageism".
yuttadhammo wrote:I don't know, it sounds like quite an important topic from a Buddhist point of view...
I think its far more important, as a Buddhist, to treat anything - especially if it appeals to your Buddhist sensibilities with analytical objectivity. Follow the evidence!
Then we are talking past each other. I have been saying again and again how from my understanding of reality, the evidence is clearly in support of Stapp's (and Heisenberg's and Bohr's) words. If you are accusing me of subjectivity, I fear you have little to go on from my words.
yuttadhammo wrote:The book is mainly for lay people, that's why I chose it; I'm not really interested in the equations so much as the framework.
i'm not agains't books for lay-people.
By this I mean non-scientists, and again, I wasn't trying to start an argument, just point out its usefulness to people like me (and you?).
Another that looks interesting from a Buddhist point of view is his paper on "Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory with Personality Survival":http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/Compatibility.doc
In this paper he mentions the book Irreducible Mind
by Edward Kelly et al., the people who have continued Ian Stevenson's work. That book, some 800 pages in length (and sitting on my desk half-read) is another interesting look at the problem of materialistic reductionism:
Stevenson has been discredited.
lol. Yes, your four words make it so. His work was far from perfect, and many flaws were to be found, but the problem is not his methods, it is that his work wasn't performed in a laboratory and thus is unacceptable to the methodolatrists. Read Life Before Life
; it explains in great detail how difficult it would be to actually discredit the work done by Stevenson and those who followed.
And regardless, the book doesn't have much at all to do with Stevenson's own work. It draws mostly from the work of Fredrick Myers and William James, showing how Myers' description of the mind is far more valid than later materialist explanations. I assume you don't intend to discredit the entire Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia? These are the people who wrote this book:http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinic ... /home-page
The irrational incredulity that remains characteristic of mainstream scientific opinion in this area seems to us a remarkable anomaly that will provide abundant and challenging grist for the mills of future historians and sociologists of science. Sufficient high-quality evidence has long since been available, we believe, to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the existence of the basic "paranormal" phenomena, at least for those willing to study that evidence with an open mind.
p. xxvi, Irreducible Mind
An interesting quote, Bhante. The man should,in the words of Eddie McGuire "Show me the money". If he has sufficient high-quality evidence then he should submit his work for peer review. If he doesn't, or if his work is discredited by his peers, then its a pretty good indication that something is wrong with it.
I don't understand... if you have some knowledge of his being discredited or refusing to submit his papers for peer review, I'm really keen to hear about it, but it doesn't change the fact that what he says is in line with both meditative experience and the founders of quantum physics. Until then, you can look at the list of papers I mentioned in an earlier post and tell me if they are sufficient:http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/stappfiles.html
He has written over 300 technical and mathematical published papers on quantum physics.
m0rl0ck wrote:I still dont understand why its so important to force buddhist teaching into congruence with quantum physics or vice versa. It either works or it doesnt and if it does, who cares what physics thinks?
Most of the modern world cares what physics thinks, no? I've found this sort of thing immensely helpful to bring Buddhism into the modern world; old wine in new bottles, as they say, just as when we use modern addiction theory as a framework for explaining tanha. The framework is incredibly important for proper transmission of the dhamma - the medium is the message, and all that.
Its more like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
Sounds something akin to the non-overlapping majesteria argument presented by theists:
Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is the view advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that "science and religion do not glower at each other...[but] interdigitate in patterns of complex fingering, and at every fractal scale of self-similarity." He suggests, with examples, that "NOMA enjoys strong and fully explicit support, even from the primary cultural stereotypes of hard-line traditionalism" and that it is "a sound position of general consensus, established by long struggle among people of goodwill in both magisteria."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria
I am sorry you feel it necessary to compartmentalize these two important subjects, refusing to see the overlap. Or maybe you just like to argue?
m0rl0ck wrote:Does anyone really still beleive this? Even after all the recent data showing that the mind can alter the function and physical structure of the brain? Amazing.
Oh, yes, indeed. Is it really surprising that people should hold on to their views even when the truth is staring them in the face?
And how exactly, Bhante, are you determining what is truth?
Ha. I feel like I'm on trial... I am clearly expressing my agreement that, as Morlock says, "the mind can alter the function and physical structure of the brain" and as you say, "Buddhist meditation has entered the mainstream as mindfulness meditation and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy", and yet you still feel the need to attack me, as though I am proposing some special truth... I'm sorry for that.
yuttadhammo wrote:Even Einstein called the observer-caused collapse of the quantum wave "mystical and anti-scientific". These are the same adjectives modern scientists use to describe Buddhist meditation.
Sorry, but this is just an appeal to authority and is patently wrong. The fact is that Buddhist meditation has entered the mainstream as mindfulness meditation and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Its no longer seen by the scientific community, particularly the health sciences, as "mystical and anti-scientific".
No, it is perfectly true... Einstein couldn't accepted orthodox quantum theory, calling it "positivistic" and indeed "mystical and anti-scientific". He did finally admit that "statistical quantum theory [...] is the only theory at present which permits a unitary grasp of experiences concerning the quantum character of micro-mechanical events." And it was not an appeal to authority, just an example of how even brilliant minds have a hard time accepting new ideas.
And it is also perfectly true and verifiable that the scientific community in general is still at odds with Buddhist meditation; the fact that health scientists are able to verify its stress reduction potential is a far stretch from showing that the scientific community as a whole (or even a modest majority) accepts meditation as an objective examination of reality, which of course they still do not.
I'm sorry you weren't able to catch the gist of what I was saying. I think next time I'll just keep my discoveries to myself