Fifteen frequently asked questions about
AAPS and postmaterialism

The primary aim of the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences (AAPS) is to inspire scientists in all areas to expand their theories, methods, and applications by exploring mind and consciousness as core properties of nature and the cosmos. These properties of reality include historical and contemporary observations that do not fit into prevailing materialistic theories.

Postmaterialism, as conceptualized by AAPS, refers to an evolutionary stage in scientific theory which views mind and consciousness, like information and energy, as being fundamental in nature and the cosmos. For over two hundred years, materialism has assumed that mind and consciousness are created by matter per se, and that reality consists only of materially produced processes. Postmaterialism expands scientific theory, research, and applications to include consciousness as a core process.

Quite the contrary, postmaterialism is founded on evidence-based research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Postmaterialism requires the rigorous application of the scientific method to questions involving mind and consciousness. Though some of the areas of research end up supporting certain ancient beliefs, postmaterialism is driven by careful and replicated research.

No. Postmaterialism is to materialism as relativity theory is to Newtonian theory. Just as relativity theory incorporates and expands Newtonian physics, postmaterialism incorporates and expands materialism. Moreover, just as relativity theory required new ways of thinking about physical reality, postmaterialism requires new ways of thinking about a greater reality consistent with empirical evidence.

Another example concerns the relationship of quantum physics to relativity theory. While both theories require basic changes in how we understand time, space, energy, and matter, quantum theory also requires a radical shift that motivates why we need to expand our notion of physicality in a postmaterialist way.

Again, the answer is no. Postmaterialism requires advanced critical thinking and the systematic re-examination of long held assumptions and beliefs in science. Postmaterialism fosters open-minded and responsible questioning in order to advance scientific theory and research. In the process, postmaterialism distinguishes  etween genuine questioning and truth seeking on one hand, versus closed minded and pseudo-skeptical rejection of valid evidence and analysis on  the other.

Core examples of findings that require the positing of postmaterialist theories include 1 effects of mind and consciousness on fundamental physical processes (e.g. long distance effects of intention on the modification of interference patterns in quantum double-slit experiments, 2 replicated and meaningful conscious experiences during periods when the brain appears to be dead or functioning minimally (e.g. during cardiac surgery when the heart is stopped) or is severely damaged (e.g. during comas), 3 practical applications of replicated, laboratory developed remote viewing procedures for intelligence gathering operations by the US government, and 4 replicated laboratory experiments with evidential mediums obtaining accurate, objectively verifiable information concerning people after they have physically died (e.g. using double and triple blinded procedures). Centuries of materialist science, valuable in so many ways, have yet to produce a plausible, empirically testable theory of how matter can produce consciousness.

Yes. Paradigm changes in the history of science include the foundational discoveries that 1 the earth is round, 2 the earth revolves around the sun, 3 material objects are mostly empty space, and 4 invisible electromagnetic fields pervade everything including the vacuum. Each of these discoveries was highly controversial during its time and required a substantial revision in the way we understood reality. Each of these also required new technologies and scientific tools in order to prove their validity. Contemporary findings in consciousness science are similarly controversial and require a substantial revision in the way we understand reality.

Yes, at this time. Discoveries that challenge our common, every day experiences of the world, especially those discoveries that question what Carl Sagan calls our “most cherished beliefs,” are typically perceived as controversial or foolish, and are often classified as anomalous. Postmaterialist research inherently and  navoidably raises fundamental and far reaching questions which challenge deeply seated assumptions and beliefs. Observations and interpretations which are sometimes labelled as impossible (and even crazy) to materialist science become core evidence in support of postmaterialist hypotheses and predictions.

Materialism is the foundation of mainstream institutions of science and education. Like every other scientific paradigm shift in the past, postmaterialist thinking is viewed by most mainstream scientists as challenging the academic materialist paradigm. For this reason, it is typically discouraged, misrepresented, and/or ridiculed in contemporary universities as well as funding institutions. As a result, postmaterialist science is often conducted outside of mainstream settings. In the process, young scientists and students are prevented from learning about these discoveries and contributing to human advancement. A safe place is needed for scientists of all ages to be able to meet and pursue postmaterialist theory, research, and applications. In addition, such an academy, holding itself to the highest scientific standards, will serve to encourage and attract funding for high-level scientific research.

The primary values of AAPS are: (1) support rigorous applications of the scientific method, (2) nurture curiosity and creativity in research, (3) encourage open-minded exploratory and confirmatory investigations, (4) model integrity and honesty in communication and education, (5) value experimental and empirical data over academic bias and philosophical or religious dogma, (6) create safe settings for sharing theories, evidence, and experiences, (7) promote evidence-based innovation and positive societal change with a more comprehensive scientific approach to the study of human experience, (8) expand awareness of the interconnectedness of all things leading to an increased compassion for self, others, and the planet, and (9) share postmaterialist evidence and understanding with the public.

The founding members are a group of senior scientists spanning mathematics, physics, engineering, psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and medicine. They participated in one or more postmaterialist meetings: 1 in New York City organized by Dr. Lisa Miller of Columbia University (2009), 2 in Tucson organized by Drs. Gary Schwartz and Mario Beauregard of the University of Arizona and Lisa Miller of Columbia (2014), and 3 in Tucson organized by Drs. Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona and Dr. Marjorie Woollacott of the University of Oregon.

There are six classes of membership: Fellows, Full Members, Student Members, Affiliate Members, Honorary Members, and Emeritus Members. Fellows are scientists with distinguished careers (by invitation only). Full Members normally have PhDs, MDs, other doctoral degrees, and occasionally are independent scientists engaged in materialist and / or postmaterialist sciences. Individuals who do not meet these requirements but care about postmaterialist sciences can become Affiliate Members.

Benefits for paid members include: 1 receiving volumes in the Advances in Postmaterialist Sciences Series (edited by Schwartz and Woollacott). The first volume titled Is Consciousness Primary is slated to appear in the winter of 2018, 2 online courses in Advances in Postmaterialist Science, 3 online interviews in the Perspectives in Postmaterialist Sciences Series, 4 open access to PDF files of important papers in postmaterialist sciences, 5 Fellows Consulting Service providing advice for scientists and students on postmaterialist methodology, 6 reduced registration fees for attending the annual meeting of AAPS, and 7 participation in a community of like-minded scientists. .

Postmaterialist theory and research have wide ranging implications and applications to society. They include education (at all levels) as well as evidence-based policy making which requires integrity and honesty in addressing core beliefs that are at odds with empirical evidence (e.g. the climate change controversy). Because AAPS deals with questions that are often emotionally charged and controversial, its purview includes research that addresses how people form emotion-based or tradition-based beliefs versus evidence-based beliefs, and how science can help bridge the two.

Some of the areas addressed by postmaterialist sciences include questions that are historically viewed as being religious and/or spiritual. A prime example is the ongoing re-examination of the hypothesis that physical death literally means the end of human consciousness and personality. Postmaterialist science challenges the materialist belief in the finality of physical death, and it provides replicated laboratory-based evidence which supports the survival of consciousness after physical death. The implications of this evidence for religious and spiritual beliefs as well as public policy (e.g. regarding end-of-life care) are wide ranging and important. AAPS will play a meaningful role in fostering the responsible dissemination of the evidence and debate concerning its implications.