Pondicherry, India, November 29, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- Issue 1 (2) of AntiMatters has been released. AntiMatters (www.anti-matters.org) is an open-access online journal addressing issues in science and the humanities from nonmaterialistic perspectives. It is published quarterly by the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in Pondicherry, India.
AntiMatters Vol 1 No 1 (2007) Contents:
1 Preface to the Second Issue
2 Daniel D. Hoffman: Dismissing God
Debates between theists and atheists often hinge, naturally enough, on advances in cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Here I contend that such advances, though relevant to the debate, cannot license deductively valid arguments for or against theism. I contend further that the central role of probability in evolutionary theory grants no inductive strength to arguments for or against theism. The Kolmogorov axioms of probability and the mathematical definition of a stochastic process suitably model mutation and selection; using this fact to conclude for or against theism requires, in either case, a leap of faith.
3 Sri Aurobindo on Subliminal Consciousness
A compilation of passages from two of the major works of Sri Aurobindo, concerning the subliminal regions of our consciousness, with introductory biographies of Sri Aurobindo and of F. W. H. Myers, who coined the term “subliminal consciousness” and introduced the subject into scientific psychology. In Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, Kelly et al. (2006) argued that the subliminal parts of our consciousness hold the key to all or most of the phenomena we tend to label as “paranormal.” According to Sri Aurobindo, they also hold the key to all or most of the phenomena studied by “ordinary” psychology. Through the subliminal we can enter non-physical planes of existence, whose raison d’être is explained.
4 Ulrich Mohrhoff: Fodor on Adaptationism
In a recent paper, Jerry Fodor argued that explanations of phenotypes in terms of their selection histories are not nomological and “don’t claim or even aspire to be”: adaptationist explanations are species of historical narratives. What is more, even if adaptationist explanations were true causal explanations, nothing would warrant the transition from a functional theory that explains behavior in terms of its function to a psychological theory that explains behavior in terms of intentions. In other words, evolutionary psychology is a nonstarter. The reduction to selection of evolutionary psychology in general and of intentionality in particular won’t work. The present paper gives the gist of Fodor’s argument minus some of the technicalities. It is intended not as a substitute but as an incentive to consult Fodor’s own paper.
5 Ulrich Mohrhoff: Sewell on Darwinism and the Second Law
In a couple of recent publications, Granville Sewell, who is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas El Paso, argued that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics in a spectacular way. Specifically, he noted that if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it much less improbable. The Darwinist’s argument of “compensation” is logically flawed: an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable by the occurrence of other events that are more probable. Order can increase in an open system, not because the laws of probability are suspended when the door is open, but because order may walk in through the door. If we found evidence that DNA, auto parts, computer chips, and books entered through the Earth’s atmosphere at some time in the past, then perhaps the appearance of humans, cars, computers, and encyclopedias on a previously barren planet could be explained without postulating a violation of the second law here — it would have been violated somewhere else. The present “extended summary” is intended not as a substitute for Sewell’s original publications, which deserve the broadest possible exposure, but to draw attention to it.
6 Robert Forman: What does mysticism have to teach us about consciousness?
A key strategy for understanding a complex phenomenon is to look at its simplest manifestations. The gene structure of E. coli, for example, has contributed significantly to our understanding of gene functioning in more complex organisms. Mystical experiences may represent the simplest form of human consciousness and thus, by the same token, may provide valuable insights into the nature of human consciousness.
7 Satprem: The Secret of the Veda
When Sri Aurobindo first read the Vedic scriptures in translation, they appeared to him as an important historical document but seemed of scant value for a living spiritual experience. Fifteen years later, he read them in the original Sanskrit and found there “a constant vein of the richest gold of thought and spiritual experience.” Meanwhile, he had had experiences for which he had found “no sufficient explanation either in European psychology or in the teachings of Yoga or of Vedanta,” but which “the mantras of the Veda illuminated with a clear and exact light.” It was through these experiences that Sri Aurobindo came to re-discover the true meaning of the Vedas, the gist of which is presented. A short biography of Satprem and an excerpt from one of his conversations with The Mother are included.
8 Medhananda: Buried in the Sands of Time: The Gospel according to Thomas
In 1945, an extensive anthology of the sayings of Jesus was found preserved in the dry sands of a tomb near Nag Hamadi, Egypt. Going back to a Greek text dating about 100 AD, this Coptic text begins with a prologue that attributes its recording to the apostle Thomas. Applying the psychological approach by which Sri Aurobindo had uncovered the esoteric meaning of the Rig Veda, the author elucidates the inner meaning of the Gospel according to St. Thomas. A brief biography of the author is appended.
9 Peter Kingsley: The Spiritual Tradition at the Roots of Western Civilization
A compilation of passages from two books by Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom and Reality. Kingsley is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work on the origins of western spirituality, philosophy and culture. In the space of only a few years, his books have exerted a profound and far-reaching influence outside as well as inside academia. He has worked together with many of the most prominent figures in the fields of classics and anthropology, philosophy and religious studies, ancient civilizations and the history of both healing and science. The recipient of many academic awards, he has been made an honorary Professor both at Simon Fraser University in Canada and at the University of New Mexico.
10-11 Two Interviews with Peter Kingsley
12 Peter Kingsley: Raven’s Appearance: The Language of Prophecy
What really is happening when a raven comes and tells someone what is going to happen?
13 Book Review: The Spiritual Brain by Beauregard and O’Leary
14 Book Review: Science as Spiritual Practice by Imants Baruss
15 Book Excerpt: Daniel D. Hoffman, Peeking Behind the Icons, Chapter 8 of Visual Intelligence (W. W. Norton & Company, 2000).
16 Book Excerpt: Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness
Excerpts from Part I (The Mystic Fact) of this pioneering study.