The biennial Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson, Arizona is a convocation of academics and researchers hosted by University of Arizona’s Center for Consciousness Studies. This venerable conference is known for its support of a rigorous scientific and interdisciplinary approach to the study of consciousness. It includes not only plenary speakers and panels, but also exhibits, demos, and other experientials. IONS scientists Arnaud Delorme, Julia Mossbridge, and Dean Radin were all in attendance and presented this year.
The Tucson conference “is where the real debate happens” says Arnaud. “It is the only conference where mainstream neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of consciousness mix with unconventional psi researchers.” Dr. Delorme presented Meditation, Neurofeedback and Mind Wandering at the poster session and in a forum on Psi Research and Consciousness, along with Dr. Mossbridge.
Having attended the conference on several occassions, Julia observed that this year she felt that the mainstream academics were more open to learning about psi. “In the past, there has been some shame or weirdness around talking about psi in academic circles, but that seems to be changing, partly through the work of IONS. It’s not entirely accepted, of course, and there’s more work to do, but we are getting heard in ways that weren’t possible before." Dr. Mossbridge spoke on the Time, Free Will and the Brain panel, and presented a poster What Can Psi Interactions Teach Us About Consciousness?
Dr. Dean Radin sparked lots of interest, questions, and positive feedback with his plenary talk on Quantum Biology and the Nature of Life . At the conference 20 years ago, according to Dean, many prominent neuroscientists and philosophers professed that consciousness was merely a by-product of the brain, an illusion. These arguments are no longer widely accepted. “I get the sense that there’s a growing openness to the possibility that consciousness is fundamental” says Dean, “and that consciousness is a more acceptable topic of study in academia, including the sciences. This is an important sign of progress.”