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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and persuasive
Can science and spirituality live together without fighting? Is it possible to be a rigorous, rational scientist, and at the same time apply the methods of science to explore spiritual ideas without automatically collapsing everything into mechanistic, materialistic, or reductionistic terms? Why is the data of parapsychology viciously and irrationally attacked by those...
Published on April 25, 2009 by Dean Radin

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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disembodied Voice
Para-psychology is a sub-discipline of that most elusive of social sciences, psychology. It deals with the study of phenomena that seem to contradict the laws of the physical universe. The question is do such phenomena indicate the existence of a parallel reality or as yet undiscovered aspects of physical reality or simply alternates states of consciousness? This book...
Published on June 12, 2011 by Retired Reader


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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and persuasive, April 25, 2009
This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
Can science and spirituality live together without fighting? Is it possible to be a rigorous, rational scientist, and at the same time apply the methods of science to explore spiritual ideas without automatically collapsing everything into mechanistic, materialistic, or reductionistic terms? Why is the data of parapsychology viciously and irrationally attacked by those who imagine themselves to be the defenders of rationality? These are some of the interesting questions addressed in this book.

The essential theme is that some aspects of materialism, one of the key assumptions underlying many of the successes of modern science, have hardened into a kind of dogma. Adherents to this "scientistic" dogma are blinded by faith and can no longer see that one of the doctrines of their faith is actually an assumption, and that there is ample, empirical data that powerfully contradicts that assumption. Charles Tart explores this idea in depth, arguing that materialism is no longer a viable scientific assumption. I find the argument clearly stated, backed up with substantial data, and persuasive.

Dean Radin, PhD, author of Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tart's best bet, May 7, 2009
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
Tart believes that the big five, his referral to telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing, are well supported by scientific evidence. Tart reviews this evidence, but wants to go to the next step: to consider other paranormal phenomena, and to look at the issue of what these phenomena mean in a philosophical sense (his best bet).

Tart confronts this issue of belief and knowledge, and how we humans struggle with meaning. He (page 25) writes: "Things that we believe that we don't know we believe, though, are like a set of chains. They just automatically affect our perceptions and thoughts, and trap us."

Tart (page 34) writes: "If you don't consciously see that you have competing, clashing views of something, it won't feel as if you have a conflict. But, at a deeper, psychological level, your psyche is not whole when you do this; the conflict will exact a price from you on less-conscious levels."

This struggle is most apparent in a misplace certainty given to a science turned scientism, with materialistic philosophy at its core. Tart (page 37) writes: "Scientism has uselessly hurt enormous numbers of people, and we must distinguish scientism from science if we want any hope of science and spirituality helping each other."

Tart (page 38) writes: "Until we learn to distinguish essential science from scientism, we remain vulnerable to false invalidation, which seems to have the full power and prestige of science behind it but is really an arbitrary, philosophical opinion. And we lose the ability to constructively apply essential science to increase our understanding of and effectiveness with spirituality."

Tart (page 67) writes: "pseudoskeptics aren't actually skeptics in a genuine sense; they're believers in some other system, out to attack and debunk what they don't believe in while trying to appear open minded and scientific, even though they're not." Tart continues: "Various media love to report in these controversies stirred up by pseudoskeptics, and usually give the pseudoskeptics high, expert status and make the arguments sound serious, either because (1) the people running a particular reporting medium are themselves pseudoskeptical, committed to scientific materialism, (2) as cynical media people have put it for decades, controversy sells more newspapers than accurate reporting, or (3) both."

Tart (page 192) writes: "Try to always notice when I write [scientism] rather than [science]. A major aspect of my personal identity is being a scientist and thinking like a scientist, and I consider science to be a noble calling that demands the best of me. I want to use genuine, essential science to help our understanding in all areas of life, including the spiritual. Scientism, on the other hand, is a perversion of genuine science. Scientism in our time consists mainly of a dogmatic commitment to a materialist philosophy that dismisses and [explains away] the spiritual, rather than actually examining it carefully and trying to understand it."

Among the various accounts of paranormal phenomena presented by Tart, there is one interesting account of an out-of-body experience (OBE), where a hidden number is revealed (page 204): "The number 25132 was indeed the correct target number near the ceiling above here bed. I had learned something about designing experiments since my first OBE experiment, and precise evaluation was possible here. The odds against guessing a five-digit number by chance alone on one try are hundreds thousand to one, so this is a remarkable event! Note also that Miss Z had apparently expected me to have the target number propped up against the wall behind the self, but she correctly reported that is was lying flat. She had also hoped to pass through the wall or closed door and see a second target number in the control room, but could not do so."

Tart (page 226) describes Dennis Hill's near-death experience (NDE), and quotes Hill: "There is a sudden rush of expansion into boundaryless awareness. I feel utter serenity infused with radiant joy. There is perfect stillness; no thoughts, no memories. In the rapturous state, free from the limitations of time and space, beyond the body and the mind, I have no memory of ever having been other that This." And Tart (page 229) speculates: "If NDEs were nothing but hallucinatory experiences induced by a malfunctioning brain as a person dies, as materialists want to believe, then we would expect great variation from person to person, and the qualities of experience would be largely determined by the culture and beliefs of each person experiencing the NDE. Instead, we have great similarity across cultures and belief systems, arguing that there's something real about NDE rather that its being nothing but a hallucination."

Tart (page 246) takes a materialist rejection of after-death communication, and turns it into an absurd darkness: "I personally find the materialistic idea quite depressing - an admission that, to materialists, will simply show that I have neurotic hopes and lack the courage to face the facts. If I believed that there's no hope of any kind of survival, I would adapt as much as possible by becoming more normal in this materialistic age. That is, I would show excessive concern for my health, promote research that supports health and increases our life spans, and avoid taking any unnecessary risks that might endanger my health or my life, while otherwise trying to maximize my pleasure and minimize my pain. Psychologically, I would try not to think about the depressing reality and finality of death, would work on distracting myself with constant pleasurable pursuits, and if the above steps weren't enough, to find a doctor who would prescribe mood-altering medications so I wouldn't feel depressed."

Tart (page 291) provides a neat summary: "When we look at paraconceptual phenomena in detail, in the science of parapsychology we find, grouped for convenience, two categories. Group one, the big five - telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing - are psi phenomena whose existence is supported by hundreds of rigorous experiments for each phenomenon. Group two, the many maybes, are phenomena that have enough evidence that it would be foolish to simply dismiss them as unreal, but not enough evidence, in my estimate, to make them foundation realities for further research as the big five are. The many maybes that we've surveyed in this book (which certainly aren't all of them) are postcognition, out-of-body experiences (OBEs), near death experiences (NDEs), after-death communications (ADCs), and postmortem survival in some kind of afterlife as primary evidenced through mediumship and reincarnation cases."

Tart (page 291) continues: "The big five paint a picture of humans as being who are more than just their physical bodies, beings who can sometimes communicate mind to mind, sometimes clairvoyantly know the state of the physical world, sometimes predict an inherently (by physical laws) unpredictable future, sometimes affects, for the better, other biological systems, as in psychic healing. Traditional spiritual systems in general tell us that ordinary, physical life is only part of reality; there's a larger, more encompassing spiritual reality beyond the ordinary space, time, and embodiment, and the big five can readily be seen as glimpses of mind operating in this larger reality."

Tart is describing "the end of materialism," as the evidence he brings forth supports his best conclusion (page 310): "My current best bet is that there's a real spiritual realm, as real or perhaps even more real (in some sense that's hard to understand in our ordinary state of consciousness) than ordinary material reality. My current best bet is that this spiritual realm has purpose and is intelligent and loving in some profound sense. My current best bet is that our human nature partakes of this spiritual nature. The deep experience of many mystics that are one with all of reality, including spiritual reality, is about something vital and true. The several psychic ways we occasionally connect with each other (telepathy) and the material world (clairvoyance) are partial manifestations of this inherent connection with all of reality, spiritual as well as material."
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate for the 21st century, April 13, 2009
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Stanley Krippner (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
Using data from parapsychological research, Charles Tart presents a worldview that counters the reductionism that is so prevalent in contemporary science. Tart's erudition, reasoning, and wit have produced a provocative book that will evoke controversy but may initiate a paradigm appropriate for the 21st century.

Stanley Krippner, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Saybrook Graduate School
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a remarkable insight that is founded in reason and wisdom, April 7, 2009
By 
Larry Dossey (Santa Fe, NM USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
"Amid the flurry in science about genes, neurons, and neurotransmitters, another quiet revolution has been building for several decades. It involves a view of consciousness in which the mind is not confined to specific points in space or time, such as the brain, body, and the present. In THE END OF MATERIALISM, legendary psychologist and psi researcher Charles Tart assembles the pieces of this new picture. He is eminently qualified to do so: he helped invent the new image of consciousness through four decades of meticulous research. Tart's inspiring, majestic image of consciousness will prevail, because of two compelling reasons: it is good science, and it more fully accounts for who we humans are and how we behave."

-- Larry Dossey, MD
Author: THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS and HEALING WORDS
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating View of Philosophical Implications of Psi Research, May 10, 2009
This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
This is a book that I would especially recommend to those who are absolutely sure that ESP does not exist. Several years ago, I happened to read about research that has been done on various paranormal phenomena and was amazed by it. I have read several books on the subject but none that sets out a complete scientific case as clearly as this one. There is apparently evidence that what Tart calls the big five-telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis and psychic healing--actually have been demonstrated under laboratory conditions. Here, Tart, one of the top researchers in this area, brings a great deal of relevant data together in very interesting, readable form. If you are a skeptic, you might want to read this and judge for yourself, applying the same stardards you would apply to other scientific research. What I particular like about this book is that Tart goes beyond the data to look at philosophical implications. If, for example, human beings are sometimes capable of precognition what does that mean about our essential nature? Tart suggests that a narrow, materialistic view is contradicted by scientific data. He argues for humanity's spiritual nature from a scientific viewpoint and comes across as open minded and willing to follow evidence to logical conclusions. The conclusions he draws give you food for thought.

Are all the experiments he cites hoaxes? Given the standing of some of the researchers, I find that unlikely. I put down this book feeling that I would like to see additional, rigorous, scientific, peer reviewed research done on paranormal phenomena.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The End of Materialism, September 16, 2009
This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
As its title suggests, the thrust of the book is to establish the scientific credentials of the ongoing investigation of the paranormal, and on the basis of the evidence to date to propound how the findings could supply a fresh way of thinking about the human mind. In particular, the focus is on how the mind has the capacity to perceive, understand and act beyond the realm of the physical laws with which we are all so familiar, and beyond which the scientific establishment is for the most part very reluctant to go.
Although this is a serious book on science, Professor Tart also is aiming toward something that would ordinarily never find its way into any mainstream scientific text. He kicks off in his introduction with a look at Richard Bucke's classic description of Cosmic Consciousness, perennially in print since the eighteen-nineties, and demonstrating in clear and objective language what is unmistakably an experience totally beyond the human mind as ordinarily conceived of in the contemporary West. This experience is in many ways a connecting link all the way through the book, a sort of benchmark against which Professor Tart measures all that he has to say, and round which he gathers his closing remarks.
Another unique feature of Professor Tart's book is that he uses a very engaging, conversational style, using colorful anecdotes, humor and shock tactics to make some of his points. Perhaps the most telling is his use of the "Western Creed" right at the beginning, which asks us to stand up and with the utmost seriousness take an "oath of allegiance" to the prevailing view of Western materialism, including the logical results of a denial of a spiritual dimension to humanity. As we seriously intone, "Rationality requires that friends and enemies--be used in ways that maximize my pleasure--and minimize my pain", we begin to understand why so many of Professor Tart's students found this a difficult exercise and were motivated to radically examine many of their unspoken assumptions about themselves and other people. But we also learn that those who had been subject to rigid religious constraints actually found this liberating, and we begin to see a cameo of what happened in the Middle Ages as the scientific revolution threw off crushing, murderous, religious mass of superstition and brought about what was then a wonderfully refreshing splash in the waters of materialism.
But we have come a long way (baby), since then, and Professor Tart proves a delightful and entertaining guide through the labyrinth of paranormal studies toward a promised land of consciousness beyond mere materialism and the hedonistic worldview into which it has now become locked. He takes time at the beginning to distinguish clearly between authentic science, which brings the proven methods of scientific research to bear on any phenomena whatsoever; and scientism, which insists on pegging science to the material world and the evidence that can be obtained from it; as well as--unfortunately for paranormal research--dismissing and condemning any work that studies more interior worlds. Here we realize we are up against a scientific priesthood of materialism every bit as dogmatic and exclusive as the worst religious inquisitors; and, unfortunately for us, as able to intimidate and silence any questions we might have about the deeper aspects of the human psyche. The backdrop on which Professor Tart projects his data is, unfortunately, that of the dead weight of materialism and an almost universal ridicule and rejection of the attempts of science to explore the inner human worlds.
Nevertheless, a small group of intrepid scientists, of which Professor Tart is contemporary example, has forged ahead regardless and created experimental criteria and methods for paranormal research, which he goes on to present and illustrate with human interest stories, humor, and clear diagrams. This work has come up with results that, from the scientific, statistical point of view, are significant enough to support the reality of phenomena such as telepathy (communicating or perceiving of thoughts and feelings and so on by apparently extrasensory means), clairvoyance or remote viewing, precognition (knowing in advance, especially as an extrasensory perception), psychokinesis (creating movement in physical bodies, especially by mental effort alone) and psychic healing. Professor Tart uses this information as the bedrock on which he builds his argument that the human mind has dimensions which transcend physical laws and can therefore be thought of as, in a sense, "spiritual".
Going beyond the evidence for the Big Five, as he calls these established psychic phenomena, he also gives us what evidence exists for more complex phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, postmortem survival, mediumship, and reincarnation. It is saddening to see how lack of support from the scientific establishment has stood in the way of undertaking the kind of large research projects such subjects require, but we cannot but be impressed by how much has indeed been done, particularly in the way of compiling stringently researched anecdotal materials, some of which are really quite compelling.
As he goes along, Professor Tart dilates on just how much understanding of the inner reaches of the human psyche could be obtained as we increase and enlarge upon the work that has been already done; and short of further hard data, offers his own conjectures and projections for what indeed might be discovered. Here he has to rely less on experimental data and more on striking and informative case histories such as Richard Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness and others, including contributors to his own cyber-archive, TASTE (Archive of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences).
This is a method which is by no means unscientific: particularly in medical science the unusual case history is often the first clue to unraveling the causes of disease. Why should this material not be a reliable pointer to what indeed can be expected of the human psyche in its deeper dimensions, free of the restrictions of time, space and causation? From the vantage point of his own noetic experience, Richard Bucke himself gave us some sixty case-histories of personalities he regarded as qualifying for cosmic consciousness, some generally well-known and accepted, such as world religious teachers; and some maybe just his friends (even scientists have preferences, which maybe explains why Bucke's cases are almost all men, and mostly white!)
Be that as it may, we can appreciate Professor Tart's zeal to build his case and empathize with some of the poignant issues he raises toward the end of the book: Are we merely "meat computers that will soon die?" Or are we endowed with faculties that transcend the physical world and can release us, if properly cultivated, into a realm which has several degrees of freedom beyond what we think we have now?
His own life-story, very frank for a card-carrying scientist, gives us insights into the influence on his own development of his spiritual grandmother, through facing the disbelief of adolescence, and working through what his notions of what God might actually be. In dealing with these issues he invokes Buddhism and Gurdjieff (page 310) and comes up with his own tentative "best bets" about spirituality, which could well be contrasted with the Materialists' Creed at the beginning of the book. What is so engaging and encouraging is that, as a died-in-the wool scientist, Professor Tart makes no absolute assertions, but rather presents hypotheses, with suggestions as to how to test them. If only mainstream religions had gotten such notions through their heads! There would be a lot less unrest than there is at present. Perhaps we should all embrace the agnostic's prayer: "Oh, God--if there is a God! Have mercy on my soul--if I have one!"
Moreover, unlike almost any scientist or religious person, he is quite willing to reveal his own mistakes and limitations, always endearing and in this context encouraging to those of us who are, like him, stumbling along in our own explorations.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit as experience, January 9, 2010
By 
Stephen Curtin (Existential Humanistic Institute) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
Charles Tart's interest in altered states and paranormal experiences is enduring and thought-provoking. Easy answers, glib phrases and superficial understanding are tested and exposed. He asks the reader to experience his or her assumptions, to test his or her spiritual framework, and notice the discomfort hidden behind "spiritual" cultures. I appreciate his critical thinking and his wealth of knowledge outside the mainstream. I know there is more to tell, but still the hints are a valued.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite and Compelling!!, July 10, 2009
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
This is quite an ambitious and successful undertaking by a noted author, acknowledged expert, relentless researcher, gifted teacher and a learned friend. Dr. Tart goes to great lengths to encapsulate a lifetime of learning into a manageable piece that not only serves to educate the reader as to the minutiae of parapsychology, but offers undeniable argument that scientism acts like a millstone around the neck of both empirical science and spirituality.

In a nutshell, the psi factor is a fact. It has been clearly demonstrated by multitudes of studies to be an extant part of our universe. Yet modern day scientism blithely dismisses it as so much prosaic nonsense. This attitude promulgates a derision that exists between scientism and spirituality in modern times and is the same derision that was prevalent during medieval times between the R.C. Church and fellows like Copernicus.

There is nothing about this book that I didn't like. It was well thought out, organized, flowing, descriptive, educational, well edited, and pregnant with reasonable postulations and research possibilities. Good science and spiritism (my new word for parapsychology) like ebony and ivory - can live in perfect harmony; if the materialist/reductionists would just look at the damn data and stop being so judgmental. Einstein, not comfortable with the potential ramifications of quantum mechanics devised a way around "spooky action at a distance" with his mathematical equalizer known as the cosmological constant, which later he lamented as one of the biggest blunders of his career. So take a lesson from one of the greatest scientific minds to have ever walked the planet - don't bury your head in the sand because the data makes you uncomfortable.

Excellent 5 star effort!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Research With a Few Important Kernels, March 1, 2011
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
In selecting a few titles from parapsychology's current literature, The End of Materialism was a recommended to me by one of parapsychology's most renowned researchers, for whom I have special respect. For the following concepts, it was worth my price of admission: 1.) Science vs. Scientism, 2.) Materialism vs. Spirituality, 3.) Tart's discussion of his Western Creed, which I had never seen, 4.) Tart's colorful language and quotes from his teachers, and 5.) Tart's experience and descriptions of human personalities which affect the outcomes of research and life.

But those things for me were 1/7th of the book. By nature I'm impatient, and to a friend I offered a tongue-in-cheek comment that I'd like to help Tart re-write the book to reduce it by half. I loved his anecdotes turned into research although I found them too long; in turn I'd love to talk with him in person because he has a dry sense of humor I'd appreciate.

It's a good book, but my interests in research are fairly shallow; I'm most interested in practical applications and experiences of psi abilities. Because he has been among the best researchers, Tart spends lots of time discussing research protocols and the application of research to proof or disproof of psi phenomena. But if you're good at quickly scanning for hard kernels of seedy truth, get the book. Tart is one of parapsychology's greater bridges, and his contributions to the field's 4,000 good studies are well worth your investment in the shoe leather to cross what he provides.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for!, February 14, 2010
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This review is from: The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together (Hardcover)
'The End of Materialism' is an excellent, thought provoking book from veteran parapsychologist/ consciousness researcher Charles Tart. I was really looking around for a high quality rebuttal to the prevailing scientific paradigm of materialism, the dogma that everything in this universe, including us, is mere matter. Tart, using the best of scientific research, shows that materialism and 'scientism' are not only a very incomplete picture of human beings, but just plain unscientific. There is now ample clinical evidence for Psi effects, as anyone who reads this and also Dean Radins' brilliant 'The Conscious Universe' will quickly see. At the dawn of the new century, it is increasingly obvious that many of the old, dysfuntional ways of society are, or soon will be, on the way out. I believe books like this are paving the way for a new dominant paradigm that will incorporate the best of science and spirituality, replacing the rigid and outdated modes of the past with something far more wholistic. It is heartening to see great minds like Charles Tart in the vangaurd for this positive change. Highly recommended!
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