The Integration of (pseudo-)Science and Spirituality

I picked up the book “The Integration of Science and Spirituality: Subtly Matter, ‘Dark Matter’, and the Science of Correspondence” by Deno Kazanis, Ph.D. from the Edmonton Public Library today. The book is self-published, so it is unlikely to ever cause a stir. Nevertheless, of the handful of pages I was able to quickly skim there are some blaring inconsistencies that should be addressed.

First, the author Kazanis is a M.S. in Physics from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from The Pennsylvania State University. He also has a lot of experience with Taoism, Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies. One would think this would be the ideal candidate to tie the realms of “science” and “mysticism” together. However, it seems Kazanis failed to learn about how science really works.

The main theme of the book is that dark matter, as posited by quantum cosmologists (as what makes up “95% of the universe” – in fact in only comprises 23% of the universe, with the even more mysterious dark energy comprising 73%), which permeates luminous (or ordinary) matter without being detected, is the source of all spiritual and mystical phenomena.

The first mistake made by Kazanis is that he blindly accepts that evidence for paranormal phenomena exists, and then seeks an explanation for it. He then arbitrarily posits dark matter as the “subtle matter” of ancient mysticisms along with unseen forces as an explanation for those phenomena.

He later demonstrates many key misunderstandings while trying to explain how his subtle matter can explain the unexplained. The major section I take exception to is that entitled “Cold Fusion”

Pons and Fleischmann used the term “cold fusion” for their unique energy generating discovery because the energy that was produced was too great for a chemical reaction and so they thought it must be nuclear, but there was no radioactive [sic]. Therefore they referred to it as “cold fusion”. This phenomena was met with enormous skepticism, particularly by nuclear physicists in the USA.

However, recent scientific and commercial developments in cold fusion seem to confirm their discovery. Dozens of laboratories have replicated this work, and the results have been published in scientific journals. These developments seem to vindicate Pons and Fleischmann and may yet lead to a breakthrough in cold fusion as a practical energy source.

Is it nuclear or chemical? Since subtle ‘dark matter’ is ever present, and since dense physical matter must interact with pranic [related to prana or qi energies] ‘dark matter’, Pons and Fleischmann may have come across a mechanism which allows the interaction between these two types of matter, and thus generating energy. In this way we could have a strong energy source, but no radioactivity, by utilizing ‘dark matter.’ [p. 59-60]

One would think that Kazanis, with a masters in Physics would understand the difference between fusion and fission is, but the above section on cold fusion (reprinted in full) would beg to differ. Pons and Fleischmann called their reaction “cold fusion” because they thought they’d achieved nuclear fusion (the binding of two subatomic elements together) at room temperature and energies. Typically fusion occurs at extreme energy levels, which is why the fusion that occurs in the core of the Hydrogen bomb requires a traditional fission or A-Bomb to trigger it. This is all within accepted science.

Cold fusion, however, was likely not acheived by Pons and Fleischmann. No group has successfully reproduced the results of the original experiment (Kazanis gives footnote references for 66 items in his 128 page paperback, but not one for a reproduced cold fusion result). Finally, another group showed that there were issues with the gamma-ray spectra with the original experiment, which would lead to a false interpretation. The best explanantion of why cold fusion appears in this book is given at a Physics World article (a good reference debunking the cold fusion myth):

Yet the defenders of cold fusion have soldiered on, a number of them merging with a network of conspiracy theorists, psychic spoon-benders, UFO enthusiasts and believers in other exotic physical phenomena outside the ken of science.

Yet, most simply put, if cold fusion did exist, and was readily repeatable, we would not be entering an energy crisis.

A few pages later Kazanis stumbles through a section entitled “Cosmogenesis” in which he mixes creationist misconceptions with New-Age woo. Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered to fully read it, since Kazanis has destroyed any credibility within the field of physics.

In the Journal of Near Death Studies, Long gives a fairly decent review of this book [1]. The best parts are reproduced here:

Lacking any personal or professional background suggesting the existence of chakras, I asked myself what was known about any physical correlate of chakras, and whether chakras were accepted among conventional health scientists as real. I performed a literature search
in The National Library of Medicine (NLM), an enormous searchable database of allied health science literature from all around the world, and in a variety of languages. Directly entering the term chakra, and searching NLM revealed only two articles that had the term chakra
in the title (both Dutch journal articles from 1979), suggesting, consistent with my medical perspective, that the physical or physiological correlate of chakras is unknown to conventional health scientists. I then searched my database of 240 NDEs submitted to my web site ( for the term chakra and did not find the term. I then queried my NDE co-investigator, Jody Long, who is knowledgeable of, and personally believes in, the reality of chakras. Long had recently reviewed the aforementioned 240 NDE accounts, and could not recall any account describing awareness during any NDE of anything suggesting

The reader can quickly see the differences between the author’s and my own belief systems. I do not claim either of our belief systems is superior to the other, but simply point out how differing belief systems make a consensus regarding the integration of science and spirituality difficult. This important concept is not discussed in the book.

Kazanis discusses a number of unexplained and controversial observations including astrology, herbalogy, and alchemy, and concludes: “Although science is unable to account for such events at this time, there is no reason for doubting that they can be accounted for, providing we expand our knowledge to include subtle bodies, subtle matter and subtle
energy, which is, in essence, what science today calls ‘dark matter” (p. 118). This conclusion is difficult to accept given our very primitive understanding of dark matter.

Basically, all that is known about dark matter is that it has gravity and does not interact with the known electromagnetic spectrum to allow it to be visualized. A conclusion linking
dark matter to other mysterious phenomena seems very premature.

This brings up another concern. Relating dark matter to the realm of existence of a variety of phenomena (including NDEs) is an intriguing hypothesis, but I believe most readers will accept it is only a hypothesis. We are a long way from proving the validity, or lack thereof, of this hypothesis. One would expect a book about the integration of science and spirituality to be filled with such statement qualifiers as “possible,” “perhaps,” and “hypothesized,” but there is a noticeable paucity of such qualifiers throughout the book.

By my perception, Kazanis represents the mystical teachings he is aware of as more reliable than science for the pursuit of spiritual growth. In the first chapter he states: “By turning inward mysticism has concentrated its exploration of the universe on those concepts which are of value to spiritual growth” (p. 20). Science is never similarly acknowledged as being of value for spiritual growth. At no point in the book did I encounter the recognition that the mystical teachings Kazanis discusses may need to undergo revision in the future as new understandings are developed. Yet Kazanis criticizes science for periodically, throughout history, representing its understandings as absolute and complete truth, only to be humbled by the next generation of scientific discovery significantly changing accepted scientific understandings.

Such criticism is certainly legitimate, yet this one-sided criticism of science does not help the difficult process of integrating science and spirituality. A substantial openmindedness and humility by all will be required by all to allow such integration. No single scientific or spiritual discipline has all the answers.

I have to disagree with the conclusions of the reviewer however, as he ends:

Kazanis correctly points out that mystics are at least trying to answer some very big and important questions that science cannot. For example, science has very little to offer regarding questions about God, consciousness, and the meaning of life, to name a few. When we know so little about such important questions, it certainly seems reasonable to
consider the thousands of years of collective wisdom of other cultures. This book is a good, very brief introduction to such beliefs. The concept of dark matter is intriguing and thus this book is recommended reading for those interested in how science and spirituality might be integrated. It is not the intent of this book to discuss NDEs in any depth,
and readers interested in such a focus are advised to consider other books.

First, I believe many scientists are exploring the questions of God’s existence and consciousness. And the meaning of life has long been a subject of objective, secular philosophy. I would also disagree that “we know so little about such important questions,” and would not necessarily grant answers to historical cultural “wisdom” as many of those beliefs are routed in ancient superstitions with little to no basis in reality. I also completely disagree that this book should be used as a guide to integrate science and spirituality as all it does is attempt to bastardize dark matter cosmology to the point it can be used for pseudoscientific events. The same has been done to quantum mechanics, and countless other scientific phenomena.

A proper integration of science and spirituality is something that would draw on the results of science to build a rational, objective worldview that affirms human diginity and worth. Lucky for us that such a system already exists in secular humanism and the Brights.

[1] Long, Jeffery, “Book Review: The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality: Subtle Matter,
“Dark Matter,” and the Science of Correspondence, by Deno
Kazanis. Gainesville, FL: InstaBook, 2001, 137 pp., $14.95, pb. (Second
edition published 2002 by Styra Publications, Tampa, FL.)” Journal of Near Death Studies, 31, p. 191.

UofA staff and students can access the above article online.