Western Association for Biofeedback and Neuroscience — Spring 2017 19 Integrating the Field: The Panel Discussion The integration of our field was the topic of the opening panel discussion at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Western Association for Biofeedback and Neuroscience (WABN). The event was an auspicious beginning for the meeting. It reflected the very spirit of mutual accep- tance that is required to bring about the desired re-integration. Panel members were Barry Sterman and Jay Gunkelman representing the more traditional academic position, with Gary Schummer and Siegfried Othmer representing the more open-ended fron- tier science position. What surely unites all sides on this issue is the implicit if not explicit conviction that biofeedback and neurofeedback cannot come into their own until mainstream recognition is as- sured. Opinions diverge on the manner of how that is to come about. On this issue, Barry is a fundamental- ist. How therapies become accepted is very clear if one’s intention is to persuade the establishment. One has to play by their rules. The alternative view is that while this may be suitable for evolutionary, in- cremental scientific progress within the prevailing paradigm, it is not applicable to revolutionary new developments that lie outside it. Frontier science does not fit prevailing understandings. It breaks the rules. It must be regarded on its own terms. E f f e c t i v e - ly, it defines the means by which it is to be validated. The contrast is perhaps best illustrat- ed with an example from the field of mathematics. The proof of what is called Fermat’s Last Theorem was highly convo- luted, ranging far afield and drawing on various mathematical disciplines. It took mathematicians months to review the 150 pages of proof, and their efforts exposed an error in the proof. The author, Andrew Wiles, managed to close the loophole with yet another elegant proof within a year, and Fermat’s Last Theorem was fi- nally proved. No one along the way ever argued that the proof had to take a partic- ular form. The mathematician chose the path in his sole discretion. It’s whatever gets you there. In the same spirit, one would say that the validity of EEG neurofeedback was established with Sterman’s first experi- ment. That is to say, once the evidence emerged in the light of day, by whatever fortuitous chain of events, it could not be ignored. Quite inadvertently, a blinded controlled experiment had been conduct- ed. In terms of experimental design and execution, this was a case of immaculate conception. The experiment had been Integrating the field: Rumination on our past and future Siegfried Othmer, PhD