Sadri Hassani, in his Commentary, laments the fact that many of America’s top-tier medical schools “house centers of integrative health.” He singles out Explore, a peer-reviewed journal I serve as executive editor, for special criticism because we published “Manifesto for a post-materialist science,” which, he says, “elevates parapsychology and near-death experience to the rank of quantum theory.”

That article had nothing to do with equating those areas to the scientific status of quantum theory. However, Hassani appears unfamiliar with developments in which quantum physical concepts such as nonlocality and entanglement have been shown to occur in biological systems. That, we believe, indicates some as-yet-undefined degree of overlap between biomedical science and quantum physics. As physicist Vlatko Vedral states in his 2011 article “Living in a quantum world”:

Quantum mechanics is not just about teeny particles. It applies to things of all sizes: birds, plants, maybe even people….

… Until the past decade, experimentalists had not confirmed that quantum behavior persists on a macroscopic scale. Today, however, they routinely do.1 

Until the origin, manifestations, and nature of consciousness—science’s greatest mystery—are resolved, we shall continue to examine those topics at Explore with the same openness advocated by some of the greatest patriarchs of modern physics, including Max Planck, the founder of quantum mechanics, who said,

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.2 

And Nobel physicist Erwin Schrödinger said,

Although I think that life may be the result of an accident, I do not think that of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.3 

J. W. N.
25 January 1931
, p.
A Life of Erwin Schrödinger
, Canto edition,
Cambridge U. Press
), p.