In the first half, lawyer Doug Noll spoke about his Prison of Peace project, as well as critiqued the American prison system. Enormous amounts of money are spent on running prisons, but the inmates who receive little rehabilitation, have a recidivism rate of 70%. In California, for instance, we spend $13 billion a year on prisons but only $9 billion a year on education, he pointed out. If we remain ignorant about how our brains respond to crime and criminals, we'll continue to invest in institutions and ideas that will destroy the fabric of our society, Noll argued. Discoveries in neuroscience show us that the legal system's fundamental assumptions about human behavior are deeply flawed, such as notions around vengeance and punishment, he cited. 100-150 years from now, he posits that we'll have an entirely different approach than prisons, treating offenders more as a mental health issue.
In the Prison of Peace project, which has been brought to a number of maximum security facilities, "we teach life inmates (often murderers) how to become mediators, peacemakers within the prison environment, and then we train them how to teach this to other prisoners," he explained. At the most violent women's prison in the US (Chowchilla), within three years of the training, "we received a letter from the Warden saying the prison had completely quieted down," Noll reported. The training involved three 4-week sessions-- one in how to listen (related video), one in how to do peace circles, and one in how to become mediators.
In the latter half, author Cris Putnam shared his contention that western culture has entered a paranormal paradigm shift. This is evidenced by the willingness of academia to examine forces beyond nature, with numerous scientific studies being published in peer reviewed journals that would have been laughed at decades ago. While the supernatural refers to transcendence from the natural realm, the paranormal denotes something that currently lies outside the range of science, he explained. Putnam studied near-death experiences (NDEs), and was intrigued by cases such as that of Pam Reynolds, who was able to describe details of her operation at a time when her heart was stopped, the blood was drained out of her brain, and she had a flat EEG. This suggested to him that a soul or mind exists apart from the body.
Putnam studied parapsychology at the Rhine Research Center, as well as paranormal investigations with Loyd Auerbach, and came away believing there was scientific evidence for various phenomena such as ESP. He was particularly impressed with Dean Radin's work on "presentiment," in which lab tests demonstrated that people have an emotional reaction two to five seconds before they are shown an evocative image. Putnam also spoke about his interest in biblical prophecy, and the Book of Revelation.
News segment guest: Alex Jones