York Dobyns | Anomalous Consilience

The extensive consilience of evidence in mainstream science is often used as an argument against acceptance of observations inconsistent with the current consensus of reductionistic physicalism. Against that attitude, this presentation argues that existing research has already assembled multiple lines of mutually supporting, consilient evidence for an alternative explanatory framework that accounts for observations presently reckoned anomalous without losing the explanatory power of conventional models. One potential example of such a framework is described, with a summary of the observational genres that provide consilient evidence for its components.

The framework discussed here is necessarily an incomplete outline. In some cases, this is an acknowledgment that incomplete knowledge leads to some freedom being retained in the structure. For example, at the deepest level of explanation, this framework takes consciousness to be a fundamental component of reality, rather than an emergent or derived property of complicated systems. This does not entail that consciousness is the only fundamental component from which everything else is derived. Theory-building at this stage can safely be agnostic between this purely idealistic stance and alternatives such as panpsychic physicalism in which consciousness is an aspect of the most fundamental entities in the theory without being the whole of them.

In deliberate analogy to the mainstream structure of reductionistic physicalism, this basic premise is shown to receive consilient support from multiple, less fundamental theoretical findings. These in turn are themselves supported by multiple consilient lines of evidence from independent genres of investigation. For example, the thesis that consciousness can directly affect physical events, without the mediation of any currently understood physical mechanism, is supported not only by laboratory investigations of “PK” phenomena, but by demonstrations of macro-PK training (as presented at the 2018 meeting), by well-documented reports of RSPK, by DMILS experiments, and other evidence. Several other topics are developed similarly. Finally, the concluding section of the presentation will point out areas where further investigation seems needed before a high level of consilience is reached.

Bio: York Dobyns was educated at Ohio University and Princeton University. From 1987 to 2007 he worked in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program (PEAR), during which time he joined the SSE. After PEAR closed, Dobyns continued working in Princeton’s Engineering School for some years before relocating to Lexington where he is currently employed by the University of Kentucky.

Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Broomfield, Colorado 2019.

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Published on November 22, 2019