Summary

© 2018 Imants Barušs

September 11, 2018. A brief introduction to the professor's background in the study of consciousness. Orientation: course outline, schedule and homework questions, grading criteria, BACARQ, scoring manual for BACARQ; teaching content and skills, The Write Place as a resource for writing skills, importance of coming to class. Introduction: perspectives on consciousness, qualia, existential qualia; definitions of consciousness, refrigerator-light illusion, failure of the equivalence between subjective consciousness2 and behavioural consciousness2, neurons, glial cells, astrocytes, the imitation game, the Turing Test; question about whether extrasensory perception occurs, anomalous phenomena as subject matter in psychology, important point to realize is that just because someone can imagine how something could be explained (away) does not mean that that is a correct explanation, that evidence for such an explanation is also required. Writing of one-minute essays: "What are you looking forward to in this course? What do you dread about this course?"

September 18, 2018. Comment arising from previous class: The software package nengo is not an integrated theory as there is no effort to recreate an authentic replication of neural processes. Comments about 1-minute essays: concerns about the discussion of physics; meandering nature of class discussion; confusion as part of the dynamics of knowledge. Rules for small groups discussions. Small groups discussion of Question 1:  "Describe the beliefs about consciousness and reality dimension found by Barušs and Moore. What difficulties does the existence of such a dimension pose for the study of consciousness? Optional, as part of answer: Fill out and score the BACARQ. You can include information about your own scores on the BACARQ in your answer." Comments arising from small groups discussion. Slide show about beliefs about consciousness and reality: beliefs about consciousness and reality table, personality correlates of beliefs about consciousness and reality, IQ correlates of beliefs about consciousness and reality, possible correspondence between ability to do the Object Assembly task and ability to integrate transcendent features of reality with everyday functioning. Lecture: billiard-ball version of materialism; quantum theory, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory; scalability, s and p electron orbitals; 2-slit experiment, buckyballs (fullerene molecules), delayed-choice experiment, quantum eraser experiment, delayed-choice quantum eraser experiment, nonlocality, contextuality, theory of meaning fields. Writing of one-minute essays: "In what ways did the various discussions in class today advance your understanding of the subject matter of this course? Also, questions and comments."

September 25, 2018. Comments about 1-minute essays: Quantum mechanics as the "philosopher's stone," quantum-like processes, quantum phenomena cannot be encapsulated in the microworld but intrude into people-sized events. Comments about Homework Question 1: Answers must be double-spaced, by writing "c" I mean "consciousness," you need to write an introduction and conclusion for your paper, APA style discourages the use of singular "they" and recommends alternating singular pronouns, correlations between BACARQ factors, question about the difficulties posed by the existence of the material-transcendent dimension. Small groups discussions of Question 2: "Evaluate the evidence for the contention that consciousness has nonlocal properties." Lecture: researchers' fear of loss of status, "tar babies," Hal Puthoff's military remote viewing research, consilience, physicalism, Hempel's dilemma, non-homogeneity of physics. Watching 21 minute film of Daryl Bem's Ganzfeld studies. Writing of 1-minute essays: "What was the most significant thing that you learned today? Also, questions and comments."

October 2, 2018. Distribution of practice test, which can also be found in the resources box on the course web site. Comments about Homework Question 2: This is a straightforward assignment given that the answer to the question is essentially a summary of Chapter 2; importance of giving shape to an answer so that it does not consist of just reviewing the first few studies in the chapter and then leaving out the material in the rest of the chapter; importance of including discussions of Questionable Research Practices and the neuroscientific studies; the meaning of spatial and temporal nonlocality; noting that the general population does not, generally, have a problem with telepathy and clairvoyance, it is the academy where the problem exists; authentic vs. inauthentic science, scientism, SL-9, state specific sciences, importance of empiricism and logic in science; social compliance, cults, brainwashing, love balming, deprogramming, legal issues. Small groups discussions of Question 3: "Discuss the nature of time." Lecture about time: philosophy of time, physics of time, neuroscience of time, temporal binding problem, binding problem; definitions of subjective apparent time, objective apparent time, subjective deep time, and objective deep time; life reviews, reality of physical vs. mental events, future memory; Minkowski diagram, locality, determinism, block universe, movement between block universes; Julian Barbour's theory of "Nows." Class demonstration of retrocausal recall with outcome in experimental direction of 88% for practiced words and 75% for control words on free recall list. Writing of one-minute essays: "What do you want to cover during the review next class?"

October 16, 2018. Comments about 1-minute essays: Metanalyses of presentiment studies show an overall effect, but those of retrocausal recall do not. Comments about Homework Question 3: what is meant by  the "nature" of time; importance of bringing the discussion back to the question; ordinary ideas about time fall apart upon careful scrutiny; consciousness3 as a gateway to deep time; tachyons as hypothesitcal particles that move faster than the speed of light and, thereby, ostensibly could move backwards in time. Small Groups Discussions of Question 4: "What is the nature of consciousness?" Ideas about consciousness follow upon beliefs about consciousness and reality; consciousness appears to be more than just computational or neurological activity and, hence, is an essential element of reality; consciousness has spatial and temporal non-local properties and, hence, appears to be a universal, enigmatic, nonthing; consciousness appears to be stratified, and hence, that some version of emanationism could be true. Pop Practice Names and Numbers Quiz:
1. Who reintroduced the Greek notion of atomism into early modern thought?
2. How many definitions of consciousness did Imants Barušs identify?
3. Who invented the imitation game?
4. What is the correlation of Performance IQ above the median with Global Beliefs?
5. Who wrote: “If I were at the beginning rather than at the end of a scientific career, as I am today, I might possibly choose just this [psychical] field of research, in spite of its difficulties.”
6. What is the hit rate that keeps cropping up through multiple meta-analyses of Ganzfeld data across decades of research?
7. Who was the statistician contracted by the United states government to analyze the Stanford Research Institute’s and Science Applications International Corporation’s remote-viewing evidence?
8. What is the file drawer number for the Ganzfeld studies?
9. Who predicted the existence of time dilation?
10. At most, how many particles pass through the slits at any given time in a two-slit experiment?
11. What was the name of the entity channelled by Pearl Curran?
12. How long did it take Cynthia Larson to read the first of two picture books to her daughter in a waiting room?
13. What is the name of the comet that fell into Jupiter in 1994?
14. In the class demonstration of retrocausal recall, what percentage of words was from the practice list? From the control list?
15. Who was the physicist approached in 1972 by two “suits” from the CIA requesting him to do experiments to determine whether extrasensory perception existed?
Discussion of answers to the pop quiz. Review: the Kochen-Specker Theorem; important people and ideas from the three chapters; block universe, two-slit experiment. Writing of 1-minute essays: "Make up two questions for Part I and one question for Part II that you would like to answer next week on the test. Also, any comments and questions."

October 30, 2018. Comments about Term Test: Some of the course content is notoriously difficult and requires repeated effort to understand. Small groups discussions of Question 5, "Do discarnate entities exist?" Lecture about after-death communication, examples of mediumship, survival hypothesis, downward Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem in mathematical logic (if a first-order theory has a model, then it has a countable model) as an analogy for always being able to come up with a physicalist explanation of anomalous phenomena, magic wand version of super-psi hypothesis, twaddle, chess match with the ostensible Géza Maróczy, instrumental transcommunication. Watching the 15 minute video: "Philip: The Imaginary Ghost" available in the library with call number BF1031.P45. Discussion about the Philip experiment, tulpas. Writing of one-minute essays: Write anything you want.

November 6, 2018. Comments about one-minute essays: the possible coexistence of anomalous phenomena and psychopathology, and how one can cause the other; schizotypal personality disorder; psychopathology could be mixed with unwanted intrusions; the importance of self-development and psychological integrity as prerequisites for exceptional development; low intelligence of apparent poltergeist entities. Comments about Question 5: the importance of demonstrating how the evidence presented is actually evidence for the existence of discarnate entities; getting correct information is not enough to establish survival. Small groups discussions of Question 6: "What is the evidence for the existence of consciousness without a brain? Evaluate that evidence." Lecture: John Lorber's research with anencephalic children, deteriorated brain, terminal lucidity, the mind in a compromised brain, near-death experiences, oxygen-depletion theory of NDEs, NDEs during falls from mountains, cases of veridical perception during NDEs, alternative hypothesis of remote viewing occurrences during NDEs. Watching the first part of "The Afterlife Investigations" with permission of UFOTV (available at the Service Desk in the King's library with call number BF1275.S3A32 2010). Writing of one-minute essays: Write whatever you want.

November 13, 2018. Comments about one-minute essays: voice-print analyses of Bacci voices, pareidolia, nature of arguments against evidence for survival, the Scole hole today, out-of-body experiences and lucid dreaming. Comments about Question 6: Bruce Greyson investigated the case of the nurse with the out-of-body experience, skeptical arguments cannot just be against the weakest evidence but also the strongest. Small groups discussions of Question 7: To what extent can physical manifestation be affected directly by the mind? Lecture: PEAR beginnings, REG, RMC, FieldREG, SSE sunset, the role of frustration in direct mental influence, neg-psi, mind-boggling chicks, variations on the 2-slit experiment, micro- vs macro-pk. Class demonstration of fieldREG, which ran low before returning to its expected value; and classic PEAR REG protocol, which resulted in cumulative deviations contrary to intention. Discussion about non-contact healing. Writing of one-minute essays: Write anything you want.

November 20, 2018. Comments about 1-minute essays: discussion of the notion that everyone is already always affecting everything. Comments about Question 8: the importance of answering the "extent" part of the question. Small groups discussions of Question 9: "Discuss the importance of self-development for understanding the nature of consciousness." Lecture: behavioural vs. methodological behaviourism, the necessity for training in self-development for scientists to compensate for biases and to improve critical thinking skills, introspecting content vs. mechanism, individual psyches as measuring instruments, psychophysics, Assagioli's egg diagram and the lower and higher psychosynthesis.

The following is Roberto Assagioli's egg diagram illustrating the elements of the psyche:

    1. Subconscious (the past, biological urges, conditioning)
    2. Preconscious (that of which we can be aware if we attend to it)
    3. Superconscious (the future, our latent potential, spiritual aspects of a person)
    4. Field of Consciousness (that of which we are aware)
    5. Personal Self (the subjective stillpoint from which we act at the personality level)
    6. Higher Self (a deeper aspect of the self that is inherently linked to all other selves)
    7. Collective Unconscious (shared "atmosphere" of psychological material)

Guest Speaker: Diana Ali "An Empirical Examination of Contemporary American Spiritualism at Lily Dale, New York." Diana's PowerPoint slides can be found here: http://publish.uwo.ca/~baruss/ld.pdf. Writing of one-minute essays: Write whatever you want.

November 27, 2018. Announcement about final exam and information posted to this summary. Comments about 1-minute essays: mediums not necessarily "more developed" than other people, some examples of questionable behaviour; the possibility that some types of meditation could increase rather than decrease biases, lack of biases does not imply the relativization of everything, the importance of recognizing groupthink and strategies for avoiding it; the ideology of ME. Comments about Question 8: the need to answer the question. Small groups discussions of Question 9: "Describe and evaluate the flicker-filter theory of consciousness." Lecture: quantum theory, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, the role of the observer in quantum theories, probability orbitals, Julian Barbour's theory of time, A Watched Pot Never Boils Theorem in quantum mechanics, implications of observation in subatomic physics to everyday life, pre-physical substrate, deep consciousness, David Bohm's implicate order, filter theories, flicker theories, meaning fields, Federico Faggin's theory of consciousness; schizotypal personality disorder, happy schizotypes, distinction between pathology and exceptional well-being. Writing one-minute essays: What do you want to review?

December 4, 2018. Description of course material for Psychology 3120G: Altered States: Selected Topics. Comments about 1-minute essays: summary of flicker-filter theory in one paragraph: All that exists in apparent time are nows that appear to occur in a sequence, each of which has an apparent past and apparent future attached to it, making the nows into apparent block universes. These nows emerge as an apparent sequence from deep consciousness, otherwise called pre-physical substrate or implicate order, by following deep structures of inherent meaning that exist in deep consciousness and manifest as meaning fields. There are meta-meaning fields that allow a person to switch between deep structures so that the pasts and futures of nows can be changed from now to now. Comments about Question 9: One of the ways of completing the evaluation part of the question would have been to go through the textbook chapter-by-chapter to see how well the phenomena described in that chapter could be accommodated by the theory; the flicker-filter theory is an idealist theory; issues with identity and memory, the notion of a single "I," the problem of tracking what happens if memories change between nows.
Pop Practice Names and Numbers Quiz:
1. Who was the skeptic whose fiancee’s grandfather’s radio mysteriously began playing at their wedding?
2. Name one of the three investigators in the Scole experiment.
3. Who was the ostensibly discarnate grandmaster who played chess with Victor Korchnoi?
4. How many experimentally placed hidden targets have been correctly identified by people during near-death experiences?
5. What was the nickname for the random mechanical cascade at the PEAR lab?
6. What was the name of the fictitious ghost created by the Toronto Society for Psychical Research?
7. How many of the 15 eggs hatched during Thomaz’s chicken-hatching feat?
8. Who proposed the introduction of state-specific sciences?
9. Who experienced the world as coming into manifestation again and again after he was poisoned?
10. According to Richard Feynman, what are the first two digits after the decimal point for the coupling constant?
Discussion of answers to the pop quiz: Scole investigators; field studies vs. lab studies with increased controls; random mechanical cascade. Review: Questions from practice final examination: noteworthy features of afterlife encounters; Operator 190; definition of transcendental awareness; gold leaf lady; Marcello Bacci; class demonstration of REG and FieldREG. Discussion of what research about NDEs can tell us about the nature of consciousness: 1. consciousness is not in the brain, e.g., veridical perception without brain activity, 2. trascendental awareness is possible, 3. support for the survival hypothesis, 4. temporality of consciousness, e.g., protracted life reviews during brief periods of apparent time, 5. dual consciousness during future memory; 6. consciousness as primary, e.g., healing of Anita Moorjani. Discussion of the impact of groupthink on consciousness studies which could include pk effects, the ordinary waking state as a deluded state, e.g., the existence of nuclear weapons. Discussion of the relationship of NDEs to the flicker-filter theory, studies supporting the flicker-filter theory. Writing of one-minute essays: Make up questions for the final examination.