Dr. Beverly Rubik is the former director of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University. Through her work, Beverly has encouraged the networking of leading-edge scientists, medical doctors, scholars and psychologists and explored the frontier sciences, complimentary medicine, the relationship of mind and matter and geobiology.
DiCarlo: Could you explain to me the origins and purpose of the Center For Frontier Sciences?
Rubik: The Center was set up by the Temple University administration in 1987. The administrative team included the president of this state university, the provost and a few members of the board. Some of these individuals had prior experience with alternative medicines, and they wondered why no one in science was taking a look at these things. They wanted to explore not just alternative medicine but some other issues in science that they felt the scientific system had been closed to so they set up the Center for the Study of Frontier Issues in Science. That was the original name. The purpose of the center was simply to ask questions, not to advocate a certain position. In 1988 I was brought in to serve as Director. At the outset, I became the scapegoat for a lot of antagonism from the faculty, who were not involved with it from its inception. This created problems, but of course, all of that is behind us now.
DiCarlo: Are there any other university affiliated programs similar to yours?
Rubik: Just recently, two other centers for frontier sciences have started. At the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, they have a Center For Frontier Sciences which was inspired by our program and they have received a massive amount of funding from very conventional sources. It's a much bigger program that what we have here. Also, there's the new Center of Frontier Sciences at the University of Milano, Italy. They are going to follow three frontier areas -(1) alternative medicine or holistic medicine and biology , and (2) the physics and chemistry of new energy technologies, such as co-fusion, capillary fusion and energy from the vacuum, and (3) the history and philosophy of science.
DiCarlo: How many people or organizations are involved with the Center?
Rubik: It ranges above 3,000 affiliated scientists and scholars worldwide. Some of our affiliates are ordinary people who have an interest in alternative medicine, but I would say that most of them are scientists and scholars that I have met personally at meetings or that have heard me speak. So they are mainly colleagues in science, psychology and medicine that feel a kinship with these ideas and who are interested in exploring questions that go beyond the mainstream.
DiCarlo: You hold a monthly lecture series..what kinds of subjects are discussed?
Rubik: We bring in some very distinguished frontier scientists, some Nobel laureates, some lesser known but nonetheless doing interesting work. We have hosted a number of round-table international meetings on some key topics such as mind and matter; fields and living systems; homeopathy; and geobiology -the subtle interrelationship of life and the earth.
DiCarlo: In starting any kind of enterprise that challenges the status quo, you'd expect that there would resistance. The Center for Frontier Sciences is part of a major American University and I know you have had your share....Are you finding that there is more acceptance towards what you are doing than say 5 years ago?
Rubik: I would say that there is the usual benign neglect-that's typical among academics. You know, scientists are trained specialists in some very narrow aspect of realty and they really do not know much beyond that. What's more, they don't care. The system doesn't encourage them to think in broader terms. In fact, through promotions and tenure, the system rewards focussed thinking and only mainstream perspectives.
In the past I brought very distinguished scientists in to speak. To get people interested and involved, I held faculty lunches. As it turns out, we did get faculty members to attend, but it appeared that their main interest was to simply pick the brain of my visitors with questions that related to their own narrow area of research. I thought that was a reprehensible misuse of our visitors' time, so I stopped having the luncheon meetings.
Keep in mind, this is your average state university. Faculty at other universities would have likely responded in the same way.
DiCarlo: What are the main areas of interest of the Center?
Rubik: There are three. First is the area of consciousness studies, that is, the interactions of the mind-through intention, will and beliefs-and the body and beyond to the larger sphere of the material world. That's one area. The second area is complementary medicine or alternative medicine- particularly "energy" medicine. The third area is bioelectromagnetics, the interrelationship between living systems and electric and magnetic fields. Those three areas were selected because they are all testable. It's not like the study of UFO's where the evidence takes the form of people's subjective experiences. We wanted to study areas in which we could collect hard physical evidence. There has been a certain amount of scholarly inquiry into these areas, and the anomalies, or events that cannot be explained by our conventional, scientific understanding of the world, keep piling up. Ultimately, these will lead us to a new world vision.
The mechanical vision of the universe has been useful, but I think it's increasingly been one of the sources of our abuse of nature. We don't really assist nature, we try to compete with nature or manipulate it and in so doing we often create imbalances. Consciousness, field interactions and energy medicine are the softer aspects or the feminine side of nature that have not really been addressed by science.
DiCarlo: Why have these areas been neglected?
Rubik: I think the system selects people who are very much like their prospective mentors-they have similar training backgrounds and look at things in much the same way. My way of looking at things was often in contrast to some of my former teachers.
DiCarlo: You are to be congratulated on all the prominent leading-edge scientists whom you have brought in to speak. Of all the people that have presented over the past few years, who most sticks out in your mind as having impressed you the most?
Rubik: That's hard to say. There's certainly been a number of very good talks. I think the talk by the great physicist David Bohm was very profound. He gave an overview of his idea of information as the bridge between mind and matter. Bohm's idea of information is so very different from the materialistic view of information used in the computer sciences. In Bohm's view, information is something that's really not physical. That's a view I share. Information is something which has meaning and is communicated. My voice is the carrier of the words, and the actual words contain the meaning which is intangible. To state that information is the bridge between the mind and the material realm is a very rich way of thinking because all entities in the universe have information. They have something to tell us. But in order to get that information, we have to ask new questions. When we do, the answers that follow will reveal new insights. So I really thought that Bohm's talk about the notion of "active information"-that's the term he uses-was quite an eye opener. It's a very different way of thinking about information.
DiCarlo: Have there been any other visitors whose work has impressed you?
Rubik: I think the experimental work Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunn at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory is certainly important. They have shown that people can skew the numbers on a random number generator towards higher or lower values by simply wishing them to be high or low, respectively. It's one of those exceptions to the traditional scientific world view about the way things are that we simply can't explain using the old framework. Their data is a real challenge to the prevailing paradigm. They have shown that mental intention can interact with random physical systems whether they are mechanical, electronic, or radioactive. It's fascinating work, and all of the data pooled together shows high statistical significance. Although their 15 years worth of work is extremely solid-it is so solid that no one can contest it anymore-it has certainly not changed the view of the mainstream. Unfortunately, it has not gained them any respect at Princeton University either.
DiCarlo: I am surprised they've been able to get funding for such a long time...
Rubik: I believe they have had funding from the aerospace industry. Robert Jahn is such a distinguished aerospace engineer that he's been an on-going consultant to NASA. But for most researchers, obtaining adequate funding for frontier type research is an extraordinary problem.
DiCarlo: Why is there such resistance to accepting these kinds of studies? Aren't they bringing us new discoveries and expanding our understanding of reality?
Rubik: Originally I thought the lack of acceptance was due to the fact that the data was scanty or people didn't know about it . Most of these studies are not published in the mainstream journals, so it's hardly accessible to the traditional scientific community. But I sense that something much deeper is at play here because I have been bringing this data to the attention of the mainstream in meetings at Temple and elsewhere in the world for six years now. So it's not simply a matter of being uninformed.
I really think it's about the scientific world view-the conventional, materialistic reductionistic world view-which is being challenged. Keep in mind it is the scientists themselves who form the world view. Any challenge to the world view is actually a direct assault on them-on who they are- so it becomes a highly emotional, irrational thing. I have seen it happen a lot. It's not simply about some lofty ideas. This challenges the essence of who people are in this culture. So the real work involves planting a seed in their minds that there is something more to themselves and reality than they had previously thought. And that takes time.
I remember planting such a seed 10 or 15 years ago when I was in California . I was talking to a scientist about my interests and my work and I could see he was very uncomfortable with the topics. He dismissed what I was saying. Twelve years later I spotted him at a meeting. He came up to me and asked me whether I remembered him. "Yes, I of course I remember you," I said. I'm surprised to see you here." He said, "I came here because I saw your name in the program." "Well," I responded, "twelve years ago you weren't interested in these things." And he said, "I am now, thanks to you." So, things happen. You plant a seed in people and it settles down into some deep substratum of the mind. Over time, it starts to grow and suddenly it becomes conscious and they're interested in these things many years later as they themselves have changed in response to these new ideas.
The thing about a paradigm shift-and Thomas Kuhn talked about it at length-is that it's not something that's just an intellectual change of mind. It's a deep conversion experience. It's more like a religious shift inside a person. So this work of mediating between paradigms and bringing data to the attention of others and hoping that they will change their minds is very slow work . It doesn't happen overnight and it's more like being a missionary worker.
The younger generation of scientists, who are more open minded, who do not have a vested interest in the dogma, and who are able to appreciate the importance of the new world view will of course more easily embrace these ideas. Ultimately, these younger scientists will replace those who are older and that's how world views will shift. Niels Bohr wrote, "Science advances funeral by funeral."
DiCarlo: You've mentioned the difficulty a scientist on the leading-edge may have obtaining research funds. What are some of the other penalties facing scientists who choose to do paradigm busting work?