Something is going on in the universe that is not accessible to our science.  For someone with deep technical training in the sciences that is a radical statement.  The scientific method [ref] includes hypothesis formation, experimentation, demonstration, publication, review, and independent verification.  I am asserting that there is something real in the universe that cannot be studied in this way, namely,  the phenomenon of consciousness.

Consciousness is the totality of a person’s mental experiences.  It includes not only sensations, but memories, thoughts, emotions, and judgments.  While scientists can study the physical correlates of consciousness, they cannot study consciousness itself.  You can write a paper about how the color red is perceived and processed.  You can write a paper about speed of image recall as a function of brain structure and chemistry.  But you cannot get published a (refereed) paper  asserting that subject A’s perception of redness is the same as subject B’s perception of yellow-ness.  That is because color perception is personal and not available to an external observer.  The same can be said of all conscious experiences.  To study conscious experiences in an objective, publishable, and reproducible way, a scientist would need the equivalent of a Vulcan mind-meld to link the consciousness of two living beings [ref Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek].  Absent such technology, consciousness is not accessible to our science.  Yet the phenomenon of consciousness is certainly real.

There is another phenomenon that, if known to be real, would be inaccessible to science.  This is the phenomenon of human spirituality, or more accurately, the spiritual realm.  Libraries and book stores have volumes of anecdotal reports of spiritual experiences.  People have testified about angels, visions, interventions, etc.  Many distinguished scientists have written of their spiritual beliefs [refs], nurtured no doubt by their sense of wonder arising from zealous research.  Yet there are atheists, including some who proclaim that “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” [ref]  The reality of the spiritual realm is an open question.

If the spiritual realm exists, its status with respect to scientific inquiry would be similar to that of consciousness.  Scientists can study the correlates of spirituality: how and where it is practiced, whether spiritual people are healthier, whether prayer is effective, etc. [refs]  But the content of the spiritual realm itself seems unavailable to scientific inquiry:  you cannot get published a (refereed) paper on the structure and behavior of angels.

So if the spirituality expressed by humans has some basis in reality, i.e., if there is such a thing as a spiritual realm, then we would have two realms inaccessible to science: the mental and the spiritual.  In pursuit of economy, let us investigate the possibility that these two realms are in fact the same.  The oneness of the mental and spiritual realms is a hypothesis, to be falsified or confirmed by evidence.

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