TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What research has been done to inspect whether there are connections between the spiritual and the physical?

Starting from the belief that spiritual does in fact exist, has there been any research done to discover what sort of provable effects and connections exist between the physical and/or mental aspects of human life? If so, what do they present? Are their any TED talks directed towards this?

I assume those interested would be those who study and are interested in the overlap of various studies such has cultural, medical, religious, and psychological, and their practical relationships. Potential experts this question is geared to are those in the field such as neuroscientists, psychologists, endocrinologist, physicians, religious workers, etc...

There of course is a starting bias that the spiritual does in fact exist, and in definition is different that the psychological, emotional, and physical.

Also related, what experiences have you had that proof or disprove the overlap of the spiritual with human life?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jan 10 2013: I don't think it's possible to prove the existence of a spirit by science. The two just don't overlap. It will never be science's realm to prove or disprove the existence of a God. Can anyone here actually propose a conclusive experiment that proves or disproves spiritual things and doesn't rely on circumstantial evidence?
    However, I do believe in God and the spiritual. I also believe in science. The two are not mutually exclusive. There are simply two ways of knowing things: one is by the scientific method, the other is by revelation. The scientific method is rational, methodical, and highly effective, but is limited solely to things you can objectively measure. That's just fine, we need that. Without science there is no way we could have come so far as we have.
    However, I have had too many experiences feeling God's presence and receiving His guidance and help for me to deny the existence of the spiritual. Describing these to an atheist is like trying to explain the taste of salt. If you've had these kinds of experiences, (and I know personally hundreds who have) you know what I'm talking about. It's something undeniably not a product of your own mind or just of circumstance. I can talk about what it feels like, and the different miracles I've been part of, but if you don't want to believe in the spiritual, you never will regardless of what I say. Talking about it proves nothing to anyone, only personal experience of your own will convince you. Anybody can know what I say is true, but it's entirely up to them.
    • Jan 11 2013: Thank you for your response. It was interesting to read your definitive criteria for categorizing and organizing what is scientific and spiritual, and was insightful on what they are, and whether they can or cannot overlap.
    • Jan 11 2013: Scot: you are describing the classic Western belief in "God", and assuming without question that there are 2 :"realms", one earthly and the other spiritual. That is a very large, and confusing assumption. Suppose we just assume that there is ONE realm, the one we are in.?
      • Jan 14 2013: I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you talking about assuming there is no such thing as a spirit? Or are you saying that spiritual things exist in the the "earthly realm"? Well, of course spiritual things exist in this realm if they exist at all. Otherwise there would be no way of knowing about them. Are you talking about what viewpoint you're coming from? Yes, I come from the "God exists until proven otherwise" standpoint. I take you it you come from the "There is no God until proven otherwise" camp. Could you explain further please?
        • Jan 14 2013: Scot: All I am assuming is that we live in the here and now. And I am aware that anyone who says things about "God" is usually talking about something that cannot be "shown". unless you identify "God" with everything that we experience.( AKA "Deism" ,or , possibly Zen Buddhism). But it is a fact of our culture that people who talk about "God" usually have a quite detailed list of unspoken assumptions about what constitutes "God", usually derived from 2000 documented years of History. It is a problem I have with people who insist that they are "Atheists". They so often adopt all these unspoken assumptions about "God", and then announce that no such being exists. Fine, but they provide no alternative theoretical structure to make sense of our existence. To answer your question more directly, I see no reason why all the folk wisdom, anecdotes, feelings, etc. about "Spirit" cannot be seen as natural outcomes of actual events. Consider how Cosmic Radiation, etc, were there all along in human history, but only recently were recognized as "real". "Spirit" could well be just such an entity. In fact, I would bet on its being something like the Electric Field, which I see as a "real" thing. But it has not much relationship to "God", unless God is merely everything,.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.