Institute of Noetic Sciences

Institute of Noetic Sciences

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell and industrialist Paul N. Temple [ [ Paul N. Temple at the Institute of Noetic Sciences] ] [ [ Paul N. Temple biography at BioGenesis] ] to encourage and conduct research and education programs on mind-body relationships for the purpose of expanding "human possibility by investigating aspects of reality—mind, consciousness, and spirit." [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. About: History of the Institute of Noetic Sciences] ] Institute programs include research in what they call "extended human capacities," "integral health and healing," and "emerging worldviews". This includes research into spiritual energy, meditation, consciousness, alternative healing, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities and life after death, among others. [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. Research: Programs from the Institute of Noetic Sciences] ]

Headquartered in Petaluma, California, the Institute's membership is approximately 35,000. [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. Publications: Frontiers of Research Articles] ] The organization is situated on a 200-acre (80 hectare) campus housing an active retreat and learning center. [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. About the Institute of Noetic Science] ]

The institute's name is derived from noetic theory, which is concerned with intellectual or rational activity, and proposes the idea of an evolutionary shift in humans to a new species called "Homo noeticus", possessing paranormal abilities.

The Institute publishes a quarterly review called "Shift: At the Frontiers of Consciousness". However, the Institute lacks accreditation for scientific peer review. [cite article|last=Gorenfeld|first=Jon|title=Sam Harris's Faith in Eastern Spirituality and Muslim Torture|date=January 5, 2007|url=]


The Institute of Noetic Sciences was co-founded in 1973 by Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut who was part of the Apollo 14 mission, wealthy industrialist Paul N. Temple and some others. [Mitchell, Edgar, "The Way of the Explorer", GP Putnam's Sons, 1996. "I wish to thank those who had faith in an idea that led to the founding of the Institute of Noetic Sciences: Henry Rolfs (deceased) and Zoe Rolfs, Richard Davis, Judith Skutch Whitson, Paul Temple, Phillip Lukin (deceased), and John White. And to those who came a bit later to carry the idea further: Osmond Crosby, Brendan O'Regan (deceased), Diane Brown Temple, and Willis Harman."] During the three-day journey back to Earth aboard Apollo 14, Mitchell had an epiphany while looking down on the earth from space. "The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes ... The knowledge came to me directly," Mitchell said of that experience. Following his spaceflight, Mitchell and others founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences. [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. "What the Bleep do we Know?!"] ]

Among the projects the Institute has sponsored include a bibliography on the physical and psychological effects of meditation, a spontaneous remission bibliography, and studies on the efficacy of compassionate intention on healing in AIDS patients. [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. Research & Education Projects at the Institute of Noetic Sciences] ] They have also conducted a number of parapsychological studies into extra-sensory perception, lucid dreaming, and presentiment. [ [ Institute of Noetic Sciences. Research & Education Projects at the Institute of Noetic Sciences] ]

The Institute currently conducts research programs in three principal areas:

Extended Human Capacities
*Psi Studies
*Wisdom Capacities
*Subtle Energies
*States of Consciousness
*Death, Dying, and Beyond

Integral Health and Healing
*Distant Healing
*Global Medicine
*Integral Medicine
*Mind Body Medicine
*Extended Survival
*Placebo Expectancy Effects

Emerging Worldviews
*Integral Intelligence
*Science of Wisdom
*Gaia Theory
*Transformative Practices
*Cultivating Spiritual Awareness
*East/West/Indigenous Practices


Research supported by the Institute of Noetic Sciences has been criticized as lacking in strict "peer-reviewed empiricism". In an article that critiqued the New Age movement's detachment from the mainstream scientific community, Thomas W. Clark, founder of the Center for Naturalism, referenced work supported by the Institute as suffering from "what humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz calls the 'transcendental temptation' [that] drives the flight from standard, peer-reviewed empiricism into the arms of a dualism that privileges the mental over the physical, the teleological over the non-purposive." [ [ Clark, Thomas W. "The Specter of Brain Science — or — How the New Age Might Lose Consciousness" Center for Naturalism, November, 2005] ] The skeptical organization Quackwatch includes the Institute of Noetic Sciences on its list of questionable organizations. The list outlines nine criteria they feel are useful in determining the reliability of groups offering health-related information. [cite web|url=|author=Stephen Barrett, M.D|title=Questionable Organizations: An Overview |accessdate=2007-02-12|publisher=Quackwatch]

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry have also criticized distance healing research supported by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, citing a ten-week study in their critique of parapsychologist Elisabeth Targ where "healers directed their psi energy to the [AIDS] patients by using prayer or meditation." [ [ Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Distant Healing and Elisabeth Targ, Notes of a Fringe-Watcher (Skeptical Inquirer March 2001)] ]


External links

* [ Institute of Noetic Sciences official website]
* [ Institute of Noetic Sciences "Shift in Action"] community & archive website
* [ Institute of Noetic Sciences] entry in the University of Virginia course guide for "New Religious Movements"

ee also

*Near-death experience
*Energy (esotericism)

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