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Thread: Scientific outlooks regarding life after death.

  1. #1 Scientific outlooks regarding life after death. 
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    What are the scientific hints regarding life after death? Does conciousness come out of our body and live in the fourth dimensional world?


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    When you die, biological functions - including consciousness - cease.


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    What are the scientific hints regarding life after death?
    There are no credible hints suggesting anything like that, nor even a credible scientific hypothesis how it could or evolve. Such notions of consciousness and life after death are completely unsupported by scientific evidence.
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    The concept of consciousness itself is poorly understood and hotly debated, philosophically and scientifically.
    Consciousness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Without having a rigorous definition or understanding of consciousness within a context of biological life, it is disingenuous to make any assumption concerning such in a context of post biological life.
    That is to say, concerning life after death? We don't know, despite some people's assumed certainty for their own guesses.
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    In science the notion of consciousness, life after death, is without evidence. Does this mean it stops here? Or may we consider Scripture? In the Holy Bible: 2 Corinthians 12:2-3 (AV) and John 14:2-3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    The concept of consciousness itself is poorly understood and hotly debated, philosophically and scientifically.
    Of course it is, but the implied question of a "soul" that is a separate entity that lives on after the body has died is hardly the subject of hot debate among scientists and most philosophers who carry any weight. The idea of a soul is best described by Cartesian dualism, or substance dualism, and here's a typical academic view about that: "Unlike substance dualism, property dualism remains a respectable position within philosophy of mind, defended by Chalmers (1996) and others."

    http://fas-philosophy.rutgers.edu/zi...sm.in.Mind.pdf

    So property dualism, which does not consider a soul, is a respectable but hotly debated topic, while substance dualism, which requires a soul, is not respected in academic circles.

    Hence your statement that consciousness is hotly debated goes without saying, but your implication that the idea of a separate soul that lives on after death is hotly debated does not appear to be born out by the facts.
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    Yes, it’s understood the concept of consciousness itself is poorly understood and debated, as well as the subject of soul not being hot debate for scientists and philosophers. I also accept there are no material facts to bear witness on this subject; or will there ever be. I speak only of what I know: in my on going Biblical study and research since 1983, which is based on a personal experience of life after death. I don’t refute your findings and your link is appreciated.

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  9. #8 Afterlife? 
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    As a lifelong and rather devout Christian (if I do say so myself), I have not found any 'scientific' evidence for an afterlife.

    The testimony of several people with 'death' or 'near-death' or 'out of body near death' experiences are interesting, but highly anecdotal and simply don't contain any hard evidence of much of anything. The little suggested is that brain activity does not instantly cease with death - as some folks have been 'clinically dead' for various periods of time and then 'come back' - and seems to be indicative of the brain's shutting down and failing to function.

    None of this is to say I don't believe in an afterlife. However, what I believe isn't evidence in a scientific or legal sense.

    The biggest problem with a 'scientific inquiry' into either religion or God is God does not fit into a test tube or equation. The only known test for God is to intentionally seek Him. But that's not 'scientific', is it?
    The universe is a real place. However, you can't see it, you have to imagine it. Like it or not, God designed, built and sustains the Universe. Deal with it.
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    The only known test for God is to intentionally seek Him. But that's not 'scientific', is it?
    By this I suppose you don't mean scientific testing for god? I wouldn't even know where to start.

    The issue is what people accept as credible evidence of the existence of a god. Presumably, from what you have said, it is not possible to prove the existence of a god or an afterlife to anyone else; that it is a personal experience that can't be adequately described to anyone else? Would you say what convinced you is predominantly emotional in nature? If so, are you sure that that is enough of a basis to base your surety on?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    The concept of consciousness itself is poorly understood and hotly debated, philosophically and scientifically.
    Of course it is, but the implied question of a "soul" that is a separate entity that lives on after the body has died is hardly the subject of hot debate among scientists and most philosophers who carry any weight. The idea of a soul is best described by Cartesian dualism, or substance dualism, and here's a typical academic view about that: "Unlike substance dualism, property dualism remains a respectable position within philosophy of mind, defended by Chalmers (1996) and others."

    http://fas-philosophy.rutgers.edu/zi...sm.in.Mind.pdf

    So property dualism, which does not consider a soul, is a respectable but hotly debated topic, while substance dualism, which requires a soul, is not respected in academic circles.

    Hence your statement that consciousness is hotly debated goes without saying, but your implication that the idea of a separate soul that lives on after death is hotly debated does not appear to be born out by the facts.
    The link looks interesting, I am planning on reading the whole thing. Thanks.
    While I didn't specifically say soul, I guess there isn't much else that could be considered as a mechanism for post life consciousness.
    Regardless, in no way did I imply that life after death is, or is not, debated in whatever circles. I only specifically mentioned consciousness.
    And the fact remains, you, I, or most anybody else alive, just simply do not know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    The only known test for God is to intentionally seek Him. But that's not 'scientific', is it?
    By this I suppose you don't mean scientific testing for god? I wouldn't even know where to start.

    The issue is what people accept as credible evidence of the existence of a god. Presumably, from what you have said, it is not possible to prove the existence of a god or an afterlife to anyone else; that it is a personal experience that can't be adequately described to anyone else? Would you say what convinced you is predominantly emotional in nature? If so, are you sure that that is enough of a basis to base your surety on?
    I agree that it is not possible to prove the existence of God to another person by relating personal "evidence" of a God experience. These experiences seem to be specifically designed to convince the recipient of the experience. However, the way a person lives their lives seems to be more effective in convincing others that God exists. For example, if a religious person lives an altruistic life without attachment to materialism etc., then others would be likely to consider that this person is experiencing something of greater value than what he/she has given up.

    However, i disagree that the experiences that people attribute to God are just emotional experiences. God knows how to convince people of His existence, including scientists. Sometimes the experiences may involve extremely low probability events that occur right after a prayer etc. This can be very effective in convincing the recipient. However, relaying the experience is unlikely to convince another, unless the person who hears about the experience decides to seek God.
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    For me, the following way of reasoning seems to lead to a rather convincing solution: Have you ever heard of people with their eyes damaged or degenerated? You must have, they are blind, even if they preserve some absolutely rudimentary ability to sense light. Have you ever heard of people whose ears are damaged/degenerated? You must have! they are practically deaf (even if they preserve some very rudimentary ability to sense vibrations through the bones of their skull). May be you have not heard of people with their brain partially damaged but there are such people and they can live for years, but they show disability symptoms typical for their medical condition - damages in hippocampus impair patients ability to form new memories, deterioration of amygdala deprives patient of emotions and interest in life, damages in frontal lobes deprive the patient of the ability to plan future activities, or evaluate the sequence of events, damages in temporal lobes deprive a person of ability to speak, injuries to the reticular formation often result in coma. Now imagine what happens if the brain is deprived of supply of oxygen and nutrients, as happens when blood stops circulating. All of the above mentioned, and other brain "circuits“ depend on uninterrupted activity of protein complexes, called sodium-potassium pumps. Within a second each of these molecular “devices” pumps out 100 sodium ions out of the cell and takes up potassium ions in exchange. Every nervous cell has millions of these pumps and they are very busy if life goes on. Obviously all of it stops as soon as blood circulation stops. Now isn’t it obvious that any longer interruption of the activity of such a highly organized system must have irreversible consequences, must lead to its disorganization? So what might be the functions of a soul who is unable to remember, form mental associations, ethical judgments, sense any changes in the environment and so on. And this, from what we said, must obviously occur when the unimaginably complex brain circuits start their transformation into a decaying homogenous pulp. In light of these data and reflections the existence of an immortal soul, autonomous, independent of body, seems extremely improbable. If all sensory and cognitive functions of the body are duplicated in a soul, why doesn’t it ever substitute for deteriorating eyes, ears or brains in living but suffering persons? And tell me if you ever transcended into the other world, would you not venture at any price to return to this world, just for a while, to provide your family and friends with proofs of immortality incomparably more convincing than all of the religious stuff taken together?

    (the above is a modernized version of arguments provided by Marcus Tulius Cicero nearly 100 years before Christ!)
    Last edited by Post_nacz; September 18th, 2011 at 03:46 AM. Reason: copyright ;) , spelling error - sorry!
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    Sartre’s Quote: “I think, therefore I am.” His words say it perfectly in the scheme of man’s perception of life itself. Earth is a learning ground for everyone: with varied concepts as to what life is all about, as we journey through it and to what? If, anything? If I hadn’t experienced life after death than my concept of life would be different. But I did experience it. Therefore, I see life in a different perspective than I would have otherwise. I know so very little but this I am sure of, and it’s enough for me to base surety on that consciousness continues after death. I have no doubt about this, no uncertainties, which brings my story to light after forty-two years. I didn’t set out to write this account, yet I knew that I would. In spite of any disability, as I live life: whose process inspires its story to be given too others. In life, we touch one another’s reality. What we glean from it is man’s God-given choice in believing or disbelieving: in other words, perception. Is it scientific? No. Is it faith? Yes. Are there limitations? Yes, as earth’s reality is materiality, matter, not spirituality whose plane of existence is different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    While I didn't specifically say soul, I guess there isn't much else that could be considered as a mechanism for post life consciousness.
    Doesn't really matter what you call it, does it?

    Regardless, in no way did I imply that life after death is, or is not, debated in whatever circles. I only specifically mentioned consciousness.
    The topic of the thread is life after death. It was reasonable to infer that that was what you had in mind as being the hot topic in consciousness circles.

    And the fact remains, you, I, or most anybody else alive, just simply do not know.
    We also don't know if there are six legged pink elephants hiding in another dimension. But I won't lose any sleep over it.
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    I agree it doesn’t really matter what you call it.

    Forgive me, if I misunderstood your words.

    Correct again, no one knows. When mortal man does know with absolute knowledge, they’ll not return to our present state of reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Post_nacz View Post
    For me, the following way of reasoning seems to lead to a rather convincing solution: Have you ever heard of people with their eyes damaged or degenerated? You must have, they are blind, even if they preserve some absolutely rudimentary ability to sense light. Have you ever heard of people whose ears are damaged/degenerated? You must have! they are practically deaf (even if they preserve some very rudimentary ability to sense vibrations through the bones of their skull). May be you have not heard of people with their brain partially damaged but there are such people and they can live for years, but they show disability symptoms typical for their medical condition - damages in hippocampus impair patients ability to form new memories, deterioration of amygdala deprives patient of emotions and interest in life, damages in frontal lobes deprive the patient of the ability to plan future activities, or evaluate the sequence of events, damages in temporal lobes deprive a person of ability to speak, injuries to the reticular formation often result in coma. Now imagine what happens if the brain is deprived of supply of oxygen and nutrients, as happens when blood stops circulating. All of the above mentioned, and other brain "circuits“ depend on uninterrupted activity of protein complexes, called sodium-potassium pumps. Within a second each of these molecular “devices” pumps out 100 sodium ions out of the cell and takes up potassium ions in exchange. Every nervous cell has millions of these pumps and they are very busy if life goes on. Obviously all of it stops as soon as blood circulation stops. Now isn’t it obvious that any longer interruption of the activity of such a highly organized system must have irreversible consequences, must lead to its disorganization? So what might be the functions of a soul who is unable to remember, form mental associations, ethical judgments, sense any changes in the environment and so on. And this, from what we said, must obviously occur when the unimaginably complex brain circuits start their transformation into a decaying homogenous pulp. In light of these data and reflections the existence of an immortal soul, autonomous, independent of body, seems extremely improbable. If all sensory and cognitive functions of the body are duplicated in a soul, why doesn’t it ever substitute for deteriorating eyes, ears or brains in living but suffering persons? And tell me if you ever transcended into the other world, would you not venture at any price to return to this world, just for a while, to provide your family and friends with proofs of immortality incomparably more convincing than all of the religious staff taken together?
    You might want to return to the mortal world to tell your family and friends if you could. However, you may or may not have that option. There is not a scientific answer to explain the soul, and answer your question. However, this exact problem is dealt with from a theological perspective. See Luke 16: 19-31. This is the parable about the "Rich man and Lazarus". The rich man ends up in Hell. He wants to at least return to warn his family. His request is denied because he was told that his family would not change their ways even if someone returned from the dead to warn them.

    If you have ever tried to teach someone something who absolutely would not listen, then you have some understanding of this.

    Some people do have experiences that they believe are "messages" from lost loved ones that they interpret as a signal that their lost relative is o.k. Unfortunately, you cannot reproduce this sort of thing in any sort of controlled experiment.
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    You don't need to understand the intricacies of how your car engine works to understand that it's not going to be able to take you to the corner store after a junk yard crushes it. There's just as much evidence of a car's afterlife as there is of anything coherent surviving after the brain's biological functions stop. In the face of complete lack of credible evidence, "No one knows," is nothing more than a polite way to avoid the only scientific based rational conclusion possible: there is no such thing as a soul and nothing left of that makes us a "person," not our personalities, our memories, our intellect or anything else survives us. Only in the event of extraordinary and credible scientific evidence to the contrary should this rational conclusion change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You don't need to understand the intricacies of how your car engine works to understand that it's not going to be able to take you to the corner store after a junk yard crushes it. There's just as much evidence of a car's afterlife as there is of anything coherent surviving after the brain's biological functions stop. In the face of complete lack of credible evidence, "No one knows," is nothing more than a polite way to avoid the only scientific based rational conclusion possible: there is no such thing as a soul and nothing left of that makes us a "person," not our personalities, our memories, our intellect or anything else survives us. Only in the event of extraordinary and credible scientific evidence to the contrary should this rational conclusion change.
    No Lynx, this is not true. There are numerous "anecdotes" of people who have "experiences" that they attribute to some contact with a deceased relative. Some of these descriptions involve some low probability events. Although anecdotes are the weakest form of evidence, anecdotes of isolated events are accepted in numerous scientific journals as a "case report".

    I have never heard of an anecdote for the after life of a junked car. If you are aware of such reports, let me know. Thus, your analogy is not valid.

    It is more reasonable to say that there are things that we don't yet understand, or even understand how to study than it is to make a conclusion in such a situation. When someone says: "The only conclusion possible is __________, in an area that we don't even how to investigate, then it is reasonable to assume that the person has some agenda, or a forgone conclusion they are trying to defend.

    It might be more productive to ask if there is any way to study the existence of after life. Are there any patterns in the anecdotes? You must assume that if there is an almighty God, then our ability to test for His existence would depend on His cooperation. Has this been tried?

    I really don't know the answer to these questions.
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    I’m not moving ahead with much writing today. But this is wonderfully fascinating, especially the knowledge which you’re so very kind in taking the time to give this subject. I welcome it! Yes, I’m familiar with such disability impairments, which you speak of. Since you’re well versed, have you ever heard of the surgical procedure intraspinal rhizotomy? If you have than you’re in a rare group, inclusive of medical physicians who often are at a loss at its mention of it.

    In the cited Scripture, the rich man’s name is Dives. He doesn’t return nor is there any giving of knowledge to his kin, as he asks, because there’s a divide: in other words, limitations in his state of Hell.

    When the mind is closed, not an open mind, one cannot and is not receptive to seeing things in a different light. Whatever the reason for this, whether scientific or theological, we all have choice and opinion. I find in such times, living as long as I have, to simply think only of the best for everyone. As we’re all apart of humanity–we’re all God’s creation, with or without disability. Is this innocence…. Of course, this leads us to subjective opinion…. Life is life, isn’t it? Back to my writing…. Or, as I smile and tell my beloved son, Chad McMillen: “Back to whatever it is that I do.” Enjoy your day and your life, as it’s meant to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    No Lynx, this is not true. There are numerous "anecdotes" of people who have "experiences" that they attribute to some contact with a deceased relative. Some of these descriptions involve some low probability events. Although anecdotes are the weakest form of evidence, anecdotes of isolated events are accepted in numerous scientific journals as a "case report".

    I have never heard of an anecdote for the after life of a junked car. If you are aware of such reports, let me know. Thus, your analogy is not valid.
    Rumbish. That's specifically why I said "credible evidence." Case reports in a scientific case are measured by scientific instruments. For example if I did a report on a Mediterranean Hurricane, something that's predicted in the next few decades, it would include water temperatures data, wind data, satellite pictures collected by instruments put through their own rigorous standards of testing and calibration. It would be considered a credible report of a unique phenomena. There's nothing close to being as remotely credible for the existence of anything that make us who we are beyond our physical bodies and the few tantalizing "case reports," are far easier explained by emotional distress, our bias to perceive patterns that don't really exist, or simple fraud.

    It is more reasonable to say that there are things that we don't yet understand, or even understand how to study than it is to make a conclusion in such a situation. When someone says: "The only conclusion possible is __________, in an area that we don't even how to investigate, then it is reasonable to assume that the person has some agenda, or a forgone conclusion they are trying to defend.
    You're quite right I do have an agenda. I want to discuss scientific things using rational argument. Soul, if someone bothers to define it, might be a useful phrase to describing our biological brain functions, or our perception without any implication of the mambo-jumbo about its survival after the brain dies--its such a loaded phrase though mention of soul usually carry along the full baggage.

    It might be more productive to ask if there is any way to study the existence of after life. Are there any patterns in the anecdotes?
    You start. But until such a studies can pass rigorous scientific scrutiny, it's more reasonable to dismiss the afterlife parts as an artifacts of our inability to face the realities of death.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You don't need to understand the intricacies of how your car engine works to understand that it's not going to be able to take you to the corner store after a junk yard crushes it.
    Nice analogy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You start. But until such a studies can pass rigorous scientific scrutiny, it's more reasonable to dismiss the afterlife parts as an artifacts of our inability to face the realities of death.
    O.K. Lynx:

    I will start. However, I have a couple suggestions for you to consider:

    1. The point of the exercise is to see if we can come up with something new, not to win an argument. I think we both should be willing to accept that there is nothing we can say to each other on this forum in the way of an argument that can change our core views on whether or not God exists etc.
    2. There is only one rule. Each post can either improve the experiment, or refute + improve. Posts that only refute are not permitted. Anyone can improve the experiment if this rule is followed.

    Is this acceptable to you?

    The first experiment begins by developing an interview "instrument" for people who claim to have had some contact with deceased relatives and friends. Then the investigator uses the instrument to interview these people. The results of the interviews are studied to look for patterns. If any obvious patterns jump out such as:
    a. The vast majority of positive respondents are on some sort of mental health medication etc.

    b. There is no evidence of mental health abnormalities in positive respondents and there seem to be a series of difficult to explain, low probability coincidences, associated with the incidents.

    "a" would of course be evidence of some mental issue. "b" could be evidence (not proof) that is consistent with some contact with a deceased relative.
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    "b" could be evidence (not proof) that is consistent with some contact with a deceased relative.

    Or evidence the mental illness simply wasn't detected;
    Or evidence they are having false-positives detecting patterns for things they already thought possible but really aren't there as even perfectly sane humans do all the time (an evolved survival trait).
    Or evidence they are lying.

    The last three are certainly possible. They are therefore, more likely interpretation of your result than contact with dead relatives which is complete uncorroborated by other types of evidence.

    This vignette illustrates why "eye-witness" testimony is among the weakest forms of evidence.
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    It’s nice to see the coming together on terms, which are agreeable to varied perspectives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "b" could be evidence (not proof) that is consistent with some contact with a deceased relative.

    Or evidence the mental illness simply wasn't detected;
    Or evidence they are having false-positives detecting patterns for things they already thought possible but really aren't there as even perfectly sane humans do all the time (an evolved survival trait).
    Or evidence they are lying.

    The last three are certainly possible. They are therefore, more likely interpretation of your result than contact with dead relatives which is complete uncorroborated by other types of evidence.

    This vignette illustrates why "eye-witness" testimony is among the weakest forms of evidence.
    O.K. Lynx:

    Do you have any suggestions on improving the experiment, or on a better experiment?

    Suzanne: I am not sure who you were asking about rhizotomy or how that relates to after life. I am aware of the procedure being done in the 1980's by neurosurgeons for pain relief in people with spinal cord injury. I am not aware of anyone doing it at local hospitals in our area. I believe that a lot of this type of treatment has shifted to the domain of radiologists.
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    Dedo, let me think on it overnight as far as mindful thought for the experiment pertaining to your discussion on life after death.
    The rhizotomy doesn’t have the least iota of it having anything to do with life after death. I just was taken with the intelligent detail stated in the discussion, together with the kindness in time given to my words, leaving to me poise the question to anyone participant contributing in today’s posts.
    Have a restful sleep; good night.

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    The common rejection of the soul based on the ubiquity and banality of error in religious adherents' claims for its eternal perpetuation and exhibition of corporal properties, is oversimplistic.

    Other conceptions of the soul are available, and an appreciation of its essential unboundedness by the conscious self - much less the self-conscious self - does not require the admission of the supernatural or the unreal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    O.K. Lynx:

    Do you have any suggestions on improving the experiment, or on a better experiment?
    Nothing comes to mind.

    And to be honest the entire attempt is backwards. We use science to try to explain natural phenomena we observe. We conduct science and observations to get more precision and try to explain things or to confirm predictions made from some hypothesis.

    Since there's no credible evidence of anything that could communicate after our bodies are dead, no phenomena to figure out and no prediction to confirm from another scientific hypothesis. The few anecdotes that seem to exist are already explained by science or their credibility in serious doubt also leaving little reason for further exploration.

    In summary, there is no scientific outlook regarding life after death and no reason to look. The entire question and experiments trying to confirm souls (or whatever) after our biological functions are gone is an Answer looking for a Question founded in superstitions and desperation by those who can't face the death of loved ones. That's not how science works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post
    [...] have you ever heard of the surgical procedure intraspinal rhizotomy? [...]
    When the mind is closed, not an open mind, one cannot and is not receptive to seeing things in a different light. Whatever the reason for this, whether scientific or theological, we all have choice and opinion. I find in such times, living as long as I have, to simply think only of the best for everyone. As we’re all apart of humanity [...]
    Suzanne, No, I have not heard of it, but thank you for turning my attention to it. Actually, it was rather long ago that I started believing that medical procedures like analgesia and anesthesia put the concept of an autonomous soul into question. To repay your kindness, I can bring to your attention the surgical procedures called lobotomy and comisurotomy. Perhaps the best thing I can do here now is to let you hear what professor Vilayanur S. Ramachandran has to say about similar states and about a duality of human "soul". Enjoy!:
    Uszkodzenia mozgu a religijnosc - czesc 1/2 - polskie napisy - YouTube
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    The common rejection of the soul based on the ubiquity and banality of error in religious adherents' claims for its eternal perpetuation and exhibition of corporal properties, is oversimplistic.

    Other conceptions of the soul are available, and an appreciation of its essential unboundedness by the conscious self - much less the self-conscious self - does not require the admission of the supernatural or the unreal.
    What a reasonable statement and a pleasant contrast to the stridently dogmatic assumptions being voiced by either camp in this thread.
    How dare anyone suggest the possibility of an open question in the matter of a "soul". It is/is not, yes, we know, for sure!
    It has been suggested that consideration of post mortem consciousness is an antidote to fear of oblivion, perhaps then it is that consideration of oblivion is an antidote to fear of an implacable existential.

    Now, if everyone is done belligerently preaching their particular doctrines, perhaps we can have an actual discussion.
    It appears to be a fact that about 98% of the atoms that compose a living humans physical structure are replaced over about a years time.
    Atomic Tune-Up: How the Body Rejuvenates Itself : NPR
    Now despite this, I, and I suspect others as well, have a sense of contiguous conscience.
    What are the implications of this data for ontological considerations of consciousness?
    Perhaps now someone would like to bark out their personal bias as an answer, or preferably offer a guess.
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    Let me be the first to "bark" in response. It is perfectly well known, that organisms are systems keeping some kind of a dynamic equilibrium - everyday you get may be kilograms of new molecules and you lose approximately as much. But your body maintains homeostasis - (nearly) the same structures (in terms of function rather than molecules) go on serving you day after day. Unfortunately this is not going to last for ever. The moment will come, when your organs will not be able to keep homeostasis any more and your body (like my body or anybody else's body) will fall apart like a house of cards. It will not digest food any more (it will start autodigesting itself). It will not make movements, nor decisions, nor will it be able to start any other coherent activities, physical or mental. That is of course, what I cannot prove, but what seems to me incomparably more probable and reasonable than any competing vision.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jima View Post
    What are the scientific hints regarding life after death? Does conciousness come out of our body and live in the fourth dimensional world?
    This is the most differcult question because anyone can suggest that there are diemensions but when you approach some to mention that there are infact more than four how could you tell someone. Example: I have walked through the dimensions many times, I would like to tell you and the whole world so one day I go to lecture at university and decide I'll anwer a question about dimensions. I stand up infront of my audience and begin and the end Knowone claps and I'm stood there totally embarassed but strong. After the lecture knowone talked to me for ages infact almost two monts or so. What the hell have I done, have they warned me, was they there first and want to protect the truth ot am i mad
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    Jona, what are you talking about?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Post_nacz View Post
    Let me be the first to "bark" in response. It is perfectly well known, that organisms are systems keeping some kind of a dynamic equilibrium - everyday you get may be kilograms of new molecules and you lose approximately as much. But your body maintains homeostasis - (nearly) the same structures (in terms of function rather than molecules) go on serving you day after day. Unfortunately this is not going to last for ever. The moment will come, when your organs will not be able to keep homeostasis any more and your body (like my body or anybody else's body) will fall apart like a house of cards. It will not digest food any more (it will start autodigesting itself). It will not make movements, nor decisions, nor will it be able to start any other coherent activities, physical or mental. That is of course, what I cannot prove, but what seems to me incomparably more probable and reasonable than any competing vision.
    Considering that you have "barked" in a relatively non-dogmatic manner, and haven't assumed implications I have not made, it is quite alright.
    In fact, I apologize for not specifically excluding you from my assertions of dogmatic behavior. Really, such was meant for others.

    It is unavoidable that a reasonable person would assign a significant probability space to consciousness ending with the dissolution of the biological form, I do so myself.
    However, the very nature of consciousness itself is an open question, and I think it is disingenuous for anyone to present their own assumptions as gospel.

    Another thing to think about here;
    Time of conscious intention to act in relation to onse... [Brain. 1983] - PubMed - NCBI
    Sorry it's only an abstract, it appears the whole article requires payment.
    Disregarding for a moment the question of free will, the abstract indicates that some brain function is autonomous of the subjective experience of consciousness.
    What does this answer? It answers nothing, it's a huge question.

    By the way, I have yet to read in this thread any vehicle metaphor that mentions the driver.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "b" could be evidence (not proof) that is consistent with some contact with a deceased relative.

    Or evidence the mental illness simply wasn't detected;
    Or evidence they are having false-positives detecting patterns for things they already thought possible but really aren't there as even perfectly sane humans do all the time (an evolved survival trait).
    Or evidence they are lying.

    The last three are certainly possible. They are therefore, more likely interpretation of your result than contact with dead relatives which is complete uncorroborated by other types of evidence.

    This vignette illustrates why "eye-witness" testimony is among the weakest forms of evidence.
    O.K. Lynx:

    Do you have any suggestions on improving the experiment, or on a better experiment?

    Suzanne: I am not sure who you were asking about rhizotomy or how that relates to after life. I am aware of the procedure being done in the 1980's by neurosurgeons for pain relief in people with spinal cord injury. I am not aware of anyone doing it at local hospitals in our area. I believe that a lot of this type of treatment has shifted to the domain of radiologists.
    Sorry, I inadvertently had posted data here, which is now posted elsewhere on the website.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post
    Dedo, let me think on it overnight as far as mindful thought for the experiment pertaining to your discussion on life after death.
    The rhizotomy doesn’t have the least iota of it having anything to do with life after death. I just was taken with the intelligent detail stated in the discussion, together with the kindness in time given to my words, leaving to me poise the question to anyone participant contributing in today’s posts.
    Have a restful sleep; good night.

    Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author 2011
    “On Wings of Love”
    http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Mommy’sWritings.html (currently not active)

    The Mommy’s Writings Series
    Mommy, would you like a sandwich?
    Book 1
    The following data is accurately placed here as follows:

    Good Afternoon Dedo:

    I can only imagine the frustration for scientists and the like who deal with rubbish. No doubt, it’s a waste of precious time when not based on scientific proof. However, it seems to me that such proof will not be forthcoming on this subject as man cannot see into the mind of God. Humanity is seeking answers into the spiritual realm using what is an Algebraic formula, which is earth’s working knowledge, in trying to establish concrete proof to produce the facts needed to do so. This is a deep issue to comprehend let along put into words. But it makes the point, without going into detail, in where humanity is endeavoring to go.

    When seeking to understand something as elusive, as it is in wording it, one must listen from within to access a stream of consciousness, namely, divine consciousness. It’s present for mankind, but not easily received on earth’s plane of existence. With an open mind, one is more inclined to be receptive to God consciousness. Thusly, Sartre’s Quote: “I think, therefore I am.” With its insightful meaning of substance, whose possibility is than limitless ((St Luke 1:37 (AV).

    I respect sincere desire and criteria in doing such an experiment: it’s admirable. Do I think that man can prove life after death? No, and I’ve experienced it. What than is learned by experiment and book writing? I don’t know...but God does.

    Life’s a penumbra: what is good to have is a receptive and open mind in our journey through it.

    Without admonishing core views on whether or not God exists, this is in response to your question posed to me: “Do you have any suggestions on improving the experiment, or on a better experiment?” With the point of the exercise seen in the light of coming up with something new, as follows:
    1. Clarify the word being used in your experiment: OOBE, OBE, life after death. The simpler the better, with a precise definition for the word. (This might aid in lessening the rubbish accounts.) In acknowledgment to Originally Posted by Lynx Fox: “You start: But…its more reasonable to dismiss the afterlife parts as an artifacts of our inability to face the realities of death?” My answer is I don’t know.

    The factual, detailed account in my book titled “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?” begins as out-of-body and evolves in life after death, which allows for the reader to comprehend the transition: in others words, the distinction between them.
    1. Ask for the account to be factual and on topic.
    2. Don’t suggest consciousness or equate it to OOBE, OBE, and life after death. But let it emerge in the person’s own experience, by seeing if it surfaces in their written account. Better said, let descriptive be the originator of the word, not having it than as suggestive thought presupposed in the query.
    3. Bear in mind: awareness and consciousness may not connote, or mean, the same as conscious thinking.
    As viewed June 20, 2009, on Seattle’s Public Television Channel, I cite Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Seminar titled “Excuses Begone.” With it presented in his paradigm questions, where it’s best said: “It’s the subconscious mind which cannot make the distinction between the conscious and the unconscious mind.”
    1. Bear in mind: even with factual accounts, herein arises a gray area, which must be considered. Accordingly, consciousness must be viewed as a separate entity for it is precisely this.
    2. Therefore, whatever descriptive is used for the word consciousness, it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact scientific meaning, in its own right, as it is a creation of a higher source of intelligence.
    3. If the basis could be pinpointed for consciousness than man’s conception in artificial intelligence might evolve into reality. But I don’t see this as plausibility–not impossibility–as it’s rooted in humanity’s current plane of existence on earth: mindset. I believe the possibility for its materialized conception would be termed as divine intervention.

    Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author 2011
    “There’s one thing I know–God exists.”
    http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Mommy’sWritings.html (currently not active)

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    Inferences of dogmatism are interesting.
    If being dogmatic means insistence of using the scientific method, because its so far proven to be the best way to explore and learn about the natural world--well I, and most scientist are guilty as charged.

    If you mean my use of the terms "superstition," than I would you perhaps have a point, but than against comments mentioning God by some of the posters here are no less polemic. If I'd used the term "supernatural beliefs," instead of "superstition" it wouldn't have changed the meaning of my argument.

    I apologize if I offended anyone and got a bit overzealous to make my point that discussions about communicating with dead people, or consciousness after biological death isn't about science-nor of interest to science. I've tried to explain why, albeit a bit too harshly.

    But all this makes me wonder why some asks scientific their scientific opinion about a supernatural belief. If the scientist is truthful and sticks to science, he'll honestly answer that science is concerned with only explaining natural phenomena, that is, those that can be measured, observed, analyzed, hypothesis put forth and theories developed to explain them using the scientific method. None of this is possible, or even of scientific interest, with regard to the supernatural--other than why people continue to believe in things that can't be proven to exist in the natural world.

    Of course why people believe in the supernatural, and the examination of the particulars of those beliefs, is at the heart of why we have a sub-form devoted to religion. IMHO, too many think this is a place to explain and explore the supernatural rather than the belief in the supernatural despite the huge difference.
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    Lynx Fox, true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Inferences of dogmatism are interesting.
    If being dogmatic means insistence of using the scientific method, because its so far proven to be the best way to explore and learn about the natural world--well I, and most scientist are guilty as charged.

    If you mean my use of the terms "superstition," than I would you perhaps have a point, but than against comments mentioning God by some of the posters here are no less polemic. If I'd used the term "supernatural beliefs," instead of "superstition" it wouldn't have changed the meaning of my argument.

    I apologize if I offended anyone and got a bit overzealous to make my point that discussions about communicating with dead people, or consciousness after biological death isn't about science-nor of interest to science. I've tried to explain why, albeit a bit too harshly.

    But all this makes me wonder why some asks scientific their scientific opinion about a supernatural belief. If the scientist is truthful and sticks to science, he'll honestly answer that science is concerned with only explaining natural phenomena, that is, those that can be measured, observed, analyzed, hypothesis put forth and theories developed to explain them using the scientific method. None of this is possible, or even of scientific interest, with regard to the supernatural--other than why people continue to believe in things that can't be proven to exist in the natural world.

    Of course why people believe in the supernatural, and the examination of the particulars of those beliefs, is at the heart of why we have a sub-form devoted to religion. IMHO, too many think this is a place to explain and explore the supernatural rather than the belief in the supernatural despite the huge difference.
    Well yea, I was just ignoring all the god talkers, as soon as that cat comes out of the bag the science talk is over. If you notice, I said "either camp".
    Anyhow, you are not the prime offender for jumping my case and putting word's in my mouth I had not previously used. I excuse you from my assertions of dogmatism.

    Now if I may, I would like to borrow your car engine analogy.
    The thing about car engines is that if not I or you understand them, there are many people who do. The people who do understand car engines can speak of them in a consensus concerning the how's and why's of them either here or there.
    When we talk of consciousness, there still does not exist even a clear ontological categorization of that phenomena, much less any consensus as to any significant understanding of the parameters thereof.
    So if we cannot say this or that of consciousness here, how can we say it of consciousness there?

    I appreciate the right of people to make guesses, it is necessary to survival.
    My own guess is that there is a non-zero probability of the existence of a "soul", albeit with the caveat that if such exists, it is not supernatural.
    If I were to say "supernatural soul", then I would be speaking pseudo.
    Now, if a testable hypothesis concerning "soul" may be produced, whether the answer be positive or negative, then the question itself is indeed legitimate.

    And yes, Lynx is right, this thread is not about the scientific study of religion. It is more about some philosophy and some psychology and some neurobiology.
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    [QUOTE=Suzanne;282617]
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post

    Good Afternoon Dedo:

    Without admonishing core views on whether or not God exists, this is in response to your question posed to me: “Do you have any suggestions on improving the experiment, or on a better experiment?” With the point of the exercise seen in the light of coming up with something new, as follows:
    1. Clarify the word being used in your experiment: OOBE, OBE, life after death. The simpler the better, with a precise definition for the word. (This might aid in lessening the rubbish accounts.) In acknowledgment to Originally Posted by Lynx Fox: “You start: But…its more reasonable to dismiss the afterlife parts as an artifacts of our inability to face the realities of death?” My answer is I don’t know.

    The factual, detailed account in my book titled “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?” begins as out-of-body and evolves in life after death, which allows for the reader to comprehend the transition: in others words, the distinction between them.
    1. Ask for the account to be factual and on topic.
    2. Don’t suggest consciousness or equate it to OOBE, OBE, and life after death. But let it emerge in the person’s own experience, by seeing if it surfaces in their written account. Better said, let descriptive be the originator of the word, not having it than as suggestive thought presupposed in the query.
    3. Bear in mind: awareness and consciousness may not connote, or mean, the same as conscious thinking.

    As viewed June 20, 2009, on Seattle’s Public Television Channel, I cite Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Seminar titled “Excuses Begone.” With it presented in his paradigm questions, where it’s best said: “It’s the subconscious mind which cannot make the distinction between the conscious and the unconscious mind.”
    1. Bear in mind: even with factual accounts, herein arises a gray area, which must be considered. Accordingly, consciousness must be viewed as a separate entity for it is precisely this.
    2. Therefore, whatever descriptive is used for the word consciousness, it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact scientific meaning, in its own right, as it is a creation of a higher source of intelligence.
    3. If the basis could be pinpointed for consciousness than man’s conception in artificial intelligence might evolve into reality. But I don’t see this as plausibility–not impossibility–as it’s rooted in humanity’s current plane of existence on earth: mindset. I believe the possibility for its materialized conception would be termed as divine intervention.

    Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author 2011
    “There’s one thing I know–God exists.”
    http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Mommy’sWritings.html (currently not active)

    The Mommy’s Writings Series
    Mommy, would you like a sandwich?
    Book 1
    I agree with you Suzanne that the the type of "after life" contact would need to be clarified. Trying to include contact with or about deceased relatives with out of body experiences and near death experiences is just too broad and would make finding patterns difficult.

    It would be better to focus on one of these areas. I was thinking about "messages" that people interpret as a message from or about a deceased relative. I wonder if that would be a better area to focus on. The reason for this is that I can only think of two theological reasons for such a message:
    1. To let friends and family know the deceased is o.k.
    2. To warn friends or family about some impending danger, as was suggested by Post_nacz.

    Thus, #2 is something where you might get some prospective data. If the instrument reveals that some people get a "warning", and that warning comes true after the interview, that would be an interesting pattern to analyze.
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    Given the original question that started the thread is about the afterlife, I believe this thread was intended to be centered on the supernatural. Many of the follow-on post continue to discuss god and the afterlife as well.

    Considering moving this to philosophy, but I'll give it a day to develop further into a discussion about natural phenomena which fits the science of religion.
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    If Iain McGilchrist is on to something with his ascription of separate modes of attention to the divisions of the human brain, the invocation of the supernatural in religion arising from the material/spiritual split (deities, souls, and the like then being assigned to the "spiritual" side, which is not subject to "material" restrictions such as the laws of physics) correlates with an excessive role or overdominance by the left hemisphere.

    We do know that souls, spirits, ghosts, and the like, are not obligate supernatural even in religions - we have examples, such as Zen Buddhism and various "primitive" animisms - so that someone wishing to develop a "scientific outlook" on "life after death" beginning with consideration of religion's claims would have a variety of religious approaches to "life" as well as "death" to consider. After dismissing the supernatural, still some others remain.
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    Thought experiments don't really count. Philosophers really shouldn't be allowed to participate in this discussion; what with their entire mantra on the subject being complete conjecture.

    If you can show me an example of a communicable consciousness existing outside of a biological organism, then we'll talk. Aside from distant-future man-machine science-fiction there is nothing to suggest we will ever experience an "afterlife". To assume otherwise without evidence begets the meaning of the word "death".
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    It's almost impossible for me to discuss this without using my own theory of it. Suppose time really isn't the limitation we think it is. Nobody's even sure where memory is stored in the brain. Maybe it isn't stored? Maybe we have a cross temporal link of some kind that allows us to pull sensory about the moment from the time of its actual occurrence (which would explain why sensory triggers are usually the best way to remember something you're having a hard time bringing to mind.)

    The point is: if time isn't an absolute then both resurrection and after life could be the result of the actions of some future generation that has learned how to use time more effectively than we do, and now seeks to do their ancestors a favor. Maybe they've stopped having children, and see this as the best way to reach out and find new people to interact with. Aliens aren't a bad possibility either. ........ or God......if you really like the God theory (and I don't )

    The major benefit of the theory is that it explains why reverse interaction isn't possible. After time traveling to the future you can't directly interact with the past anymore (unless it's a way that holds no contradictions with the future as you've seen it.) Also, the whole "light at the end of the tunnel" thing could be a tactic used by the resurrectors to help people deal with the transition to their version of a modern society. The test of the theory is the same test as any other time travel theory. To prove it, one would have to be able to create a reverse time causality event. (At least proving its possible, anyway.... not exactly a slam dunk on proving it's real unfortunately..)
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    That isn't even a hypothesis, much less a theory. That's informal conjecture, at best, worth nothing.

    Never mind that fact that it uses half a dozen buzzwords and barely manages to be coherent at all.
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    Fair enough. It's what I came up with when I had my crisis of faith, and gave up Mormonism. I figure it's at least as good as Christianity or Islam's theories. They're not exactly science either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    The biggest problem with a 'scientific inquiry' into either religion or God is God does not fit into a test tube or equation. The only known test for God is to intentionally seek Him. But that's not 'scientific', is it?
    This is correct.

    It may not be possible to design a scientific study to gain evidence for the existence of God. However, if it is possible, it may need to be based on your statement.

    It would also probably need to be a "qualitative study". I disagree with the idea that only quantitative studies are credible. I read an article yesterday that discussed an area where quantitative studies yielded no useful data, and only qualitative studies revealed the truth.

    Qualitative studies, based on narrative interviews are used in a variety of inquires. They are especially helpful in systems with several interacting variables such as human behavior where it is just not possible to quantitatively measure the effect of one variable in isolation from the others.

    One example would be Lonnie Athens' work on criminal violence. Athens used an interview instrument to examine the lives of violent criminals. He determined that people become violent criminals when they experience four specific life events. Considering the importance of violent crime to society, this sort of qualitative research is important.

    If a similar methodology could be used to isolate specific behaviors that contribute to group violence, the results would be exponentially more important, perhaps as important as a scientific inquiry can get.

    Another area where qualitative research has been shown to be vital is to investigate high hazard industries to determine how to reduce the risk of sudden catastrophic events. Many of these industries have found that a "bundle" of key practices are necessary to lower risk, and if you try to do a quantitative study on one of the practices, then no significant benefit can be measured. This should not be surprising since we know that complex systems have emergent properties that are more than just the sum of properties of the agents.

    So although Archie is correct in that the only known way to obtain evidence of God is to seek God, I am not aware of an attempt to prospectively use study groups to seek God with the results evaluated in a qualitative fashion.

    Evidence of God is evidence of afterlife.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    The biggest problem with a 'scientific inquiry' into either religion or God is God does not fit into a test tube or equation. The only known test for God is to intentionally seek Him. But that's not 'scientific', is it?
    This is correct.

    It may not be possible to design a scientific study to gain evidence for the existence of God. However, if it is possible, it may need to be based on your statement.

    It would also probably need to be a "qualitative study". I disagree with the idea that only quantitative studies are credible. I read an article yesterday that discussed an area where quantitative studies yielded no useful data, and only qualitative studies revealed the truth.

    Qualitative studies, based on narrative interviews are used in a variety of inquires. They are especially helpful in systems with several interacting variables such as human behavior where it is just not possible to quantitatively measure the effect of one variable in isolation from the others.

    One example would be Lonnie Athens' work on criminal violence. Athens used an interview instrument to examine the lives of violent criminals. He determined that people become violent criminals when they experience four specific life events. Considering the importance of violent crime to society, this sort of qualitative research is important.

    If a similar methodology could be used to isolate specific behaviors that contribute to group violence, the results would be exponentially more important, perhaps as important as a scientific inquiry can get.

    Another area where qualitative research has been shown to be vital is to investigate high hazard industries to determine how to reduce the risk of sudden catastrophic events. Many of these industries have found that a "bundle" of key practices are necessary to lower risk, and if you try to do a quantitative study on one of the practices, then no significant benefit can be measured. This should not be surprising since we know that complex systems have emergent properties that are more than just the sum of properties of the agents.

    So although Archie is correct in that the only known way to obtain evidence of God is to seek God, I am not aware of an attempt to prospectively use study groups to seek God with the results evaluated in a qualitative fashion.

    Evidence of God is evidence of afterlife.
    Ironically they would fail by the very methods you suggest and are refuted by the very author you present as an example.
    Lonnie Athens earlier work specifically address concern about the lack of guidelines to quantify qualitative information, a necessary step to conduct analysis. He suggested three criteria: 1) theoretical importance, 2) empirical grounding and 3)scientific credibility. (see here: http://geography.ssc.uwo.ca/faculty/...r_SSI_1984.pdf)

    His studies about violent crime applied these criteria to quantitative and analyze the data he collected. In short, your own example refutes your assertion.

    The study you propose would fail criteria 2) and 3).
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;283674]
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post

    Ironically they would fail by the very methods you suggest and are refuted by the very author you present as an example.
    Lonnie Athens earlier work specifically address concern about the lack of guidelines to quantify qualitative information, a necessary step to conduct analysis. He suggested three criteria: 1) theoretical importance, 2) empirical grounding and 3)scientific credibility. (see here: http://geography.ssc.uwo.ca/faculty/...r_SSI_1984.pdf)

    His studies about violent crime applied these criteria to quantitative and analyze the data he collected. In short, your own example refutes your assertion.

    The study you propose would fail criteria 2) and 3).
    Lynx: Well at least I must compliment you on the range of your knowledge and interest.

    However, I don't interpret Athens' article as an automatic failure for an investigation that has not even been tried. At least we agree that on criteria number one, theoretical importance, this study would be important. Second, Athens' notes on "scientific credibility" are really just his thoughts on the elements for experimental design so things like: "access to subjects of study" is rigorously specified.

    So because of our obvious different perspectives, we interpret Athens' criteria differently.

    Science must advance by observation, done with clearly defined experimental design, and advancement in theory. Archie has proposed a solid theory that millions of people (if not billions) might agree with. Can Archie's theory be confirmed, or improved by prospectively collecting data where there is a well thought out experimental design?

    You don't know until you try. If we only look for the reasons why something cannot happen, that that is what we will find. We cannot do anything without at least a belief that something is possible. It is as simple as whether the glass is half full, or half empty. If you see every glass as half empty, by only looking at the reasons why something "can't work", then this becomes magnified and you end up with a lot of empty glasses. However, if you consider that the glass may be half full, then you may find a lot of water. Some people find a "full glass" and make a new contribution. Others find a whole water tower and make a massive contribution.
    Last edited by dedo; September 16th, 2011 at 01:20 PM.
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    I have read through the discussion and still have not found anything enlightening. Now I would like to say something, but it may look rather simplistic to you all.

    1. "Life after death" is not possible. By definition, death is the end of life.
    2. "Soul after death" may be possible. Probably it coexists with life and goes somewhere else when life disintegrates. As far as we know it does not take any physical space, it does not house memory, it does not contribute to intelligence, because we have evidence of memory and intelligence loss when a brain is damaged or deteriorated. When a person dies, the soul does not, because it has never been alive. It just exists, without any evidence of its existence. Same category as God, you know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    There are numerous "anecdotes" of people who have "experiences" that they attribute to some contact with a deceased relative. Some of these descriptions involve some low probability events. Although anecdotes are the weakest form of evidence, anecdotes of isolated events are accepted in numerous scientific journals as a "case report".
    There are also plenty of anecdotes for the existence of anal probing aliens.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I have never heard of an anecdote for the after life of a junked car. If you are aware of such reports, let me know. Thus, your analogy is not valid.
    I've heard an anecdote of someone convinced their shoes returned from the afterlife. After hearing the pitter patter of those long gone trainers on the stairs he was convinced his shoes had soles.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I disagree with the idea that only quantitative studies are credible. I read an article yesterday that discussed an area where quantitative studies yielded no useful data, and only qualitative studies revealed the truth.
    Unfortunately i'm well acquainted with qualitative research and how poorly it is usually executed, but that's another discussion (i'd be happy to have elsewhere). The role of qualitative research is, at best, to generate hypotheses for quantitative testing.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    It might be more productive to ask if there is any way to study the existence of after life. Are there any patterns in the anecdotes? You must assume that if there is an almighty God, then our ability to test for His existence would depend on His cooperation. Has this been tried?
    I'll bite if you're still up for it; if you drop the god assumption. Assumptions are sometimes made to generate hypotheses, but it is folly to start with an assumption which presupposes the outcome. Perhaps start with a hypothesis?


    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    Time of conscious intention to act in relation to onse... [Brain. 1983] - PubMed - NCBI
    Sorry it's only an abstract, it appears the whole article requires payment.
    Try here:Neurophysiology of consciousness ... - Google Books

    Maybe we could have an article review in another thread?


    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Considering moving this to philosophy...
    There's as much philosophy in this discussion as there is science. Wild conjecture is not philosophy. If someone wanted to define consciousness and/or the soul, this would be philosophy (of language).


    I agree completely with Prasit's assessment. Must be a buddhist thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    I have read through the discussion and still have not found anything enlightening. Now I would like to say something, but it may look rather simplistic to you all. [...]
    2. "Soul after death" may be possible. Probably it coexists with life and goes somewhere else when life disintegrates. As far as we know it does not take any physical space, it does not house memory, it does not contribute to intelligence, because we have evidence of memory and intelligence loss when a brain is damaged or deteriorated.
    If a soul has anything to do with what we commonly associate with it, then it must involve mental processes: the soul should remember, be aware, feel emotions. All of these functions can be demonstrated to reside in the brain. None of these functions can be demonstrated to persist after the brain is seriously damaged. So it seems simple - no brain => no soul. On the other hand prof. Ramachandran and others suggest that when the brain is [slightly dys-]functional it can generate more than one soul - at least one soul/one brain hemisphere. Interestingly, it was found that in the same patient one hemisphere may strongly believe in God, and the other be an atheist. People working with siamese twins - patients in some cases sharing everything but their heads - say that such biheaded bodies contain two personalities. Parents of such uncommon persons give them two names. Teachers score their performance in two sepearate files. Those who see them, have no doubts about it:
    1 Body 2 Souls ~ Abigail and Brittany - YouTubeTwo heads are enough for two personalities. Keep all the body but a head alive and it will not be enough for any personality, as far as I know. A soul without personality features, without emotions, without mental processes, without memories, associations, desires, is not a soul, I think. Frankly, I do not think it is anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Post_nacz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    I have read through the discussion and still have not found anything enlightening. Now I would like to say something, but it may look rather simplistic to you all. [...]
    2. "Soul after death" may be possible. Probably it coexists with life and goes somewhere else when life disintegrates. As far as we know it does not take any physical space, it does not house memory, it does not contribute to intelligence, because we have evidence of memory and intelligence loss when a brain is damaged or deteriorated.
    If a soul has anything to do with what we commonly associate with it, then it must involve mental processes: the soul should remember, be aware, feel emotions. All of these functions can be demonstrated to reside in the brain. None of these functions can be demonstrated to persist after the brain is seriously damaged. So it seems simple - no brain => no soul. On the other hand prof. Ramachandran and others suggest that when the brain is [slightly dys-]functional it can generate more than one soul - at least one soul/one brain hemisphere. Interestingly, it was found that in the same patient one hemisphere may strongly believe in God, and the other be an atheist. People working with siamese twins - patients in some cases sharing everything but their heads - say that such biheaded bodies contain two personalities. Parents of such uncommon persons give them two names. Teachers score their performance in two sepearate files. Those who see them, have no doubts about it:
    1 Body 2 Souls ~ Abigail and Brittany - YouTubeTwo heads are enough for two personalities. Keep all the body but a head alive and it will not be enough for any personality, as far as I know. A soul without personality features, without emotions, without mental processes, without memories, associations, desires, is not a soul, I think. Frankly, I do not think it is anything.
    It depends on how 'soul' is defined. It is not (necessarily) the same as consciousness. Both have been discussed on this thread so there may be some confusion. If the soul is defined in such a way as it contains some intangible element of personality, then i'd agree with your analysis. However, it is not clear to me that this is the case, especially as no one seems to have attempted a definition. Prasit does qualify his statement with '... it does not house memory, it does not contribute to intelligence...', suggesting he thought the same - i'm sure he'll let us know.

    Archie's post (#8) implies a definition of soul outside scientific enquiry, much like most definitions of god. And like definitions of a god outside scientific enquiry, a soul outside scientific enquiry, by definition, has no observable characteristics. Having no observable characteristics we cannot ascribe anything to the 'soul', nor detect anything about it and so it is irrelevant to the human condition.

    If someone wants to define soul in such a way as it does effect our personality (or is our personality), as i believe dedo would like to, he would need to explain the obvious neurophysiological correlates of our personality. But a definition first would be best.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post

    I'll bite if you're still up for it; if you drop the god assumption. Assumptions are sometimes made to generate hypotheses, but it is folly to start with an assumption which presupposes the outcome. Perhaps start with a hypothesis?

    O.K. So the place to start a qualitative study is with a hypothesis. How about:

    "In rare cases, family members may receive messages from deceased relatives that generally serve one of two possible purposes:
    1. To let loved ones know that the deceased relative is o.k.
    2. To signal loved ones about an imminent danger or opportunity.

    Please feel free to improve the hypothesis or replace it with something better.
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    Promethus wrote:
    If the soul is defined in such a way as it contains some intangible element of personality, then i'd agree with your analysis. However, it is not clear to me that this is the case, especially as no one seems to have attempted a definition. Prasit does qualify his statement with '... it does not house memory, it does not contribute to intelligence...', suggesting he thought the same - i'm sure he'll let us know.
    I use the word "soul" to mean "something that (probably) still exists after life ends" Then proceed to point out that if it actually exists, it does not contain anything that can be identified as "self".
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post

    O.K. So the place to start a qualitative study is with a hypothesis. How about:

    "In rare cases, family members may receive messages from deceased relatives that generally serve one of two possible purposes:
    1. To let loved ones know that the deceased relative is o.k.
    2. To signal loved ones about an imminent danger or opportunity.

    Please feel free to improve the hypothesis or replace it with something better.
    Forget whether it will be a quantitative or qualitative study for now - the hypothesis will determine the most appropriate study design. Does the purpose of the deceased contacting the living matter? I don't think so, motive is irrelevant to whether it actually happens at this point.

    Also, does it have to involve family members? I'm sure you'll appreciate that the bereaved will have their own beliefs and biases to bring to the table. They could be willing to construe every piece of toast as a message from beyond the grave. There are also serious ethical considerations in recruiting the bereaved - these people are vulnerable and we will be playing with their emotions.

    Do this sound reasonable? Could you refine the hypothesis to avoid these problems?
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    I use the word "soul" to mean "something that (probably) still exists after life ends" Then proceed to point out that if it actually exists, it does not contain anything that can be identified as "self".
    Sorry, but isn't your definition too revolutionary? So a corpse is sort of a soul? Or other peoples' memories of the dead person? or photographs and recordings? But then it would not resemble even a faint reflection of God. Isn't He supposed to think, remember, evaluate, communicate? After all, He should be like us, just more perfect and potent. I heard that a two year child is mentally at the level comparable to a parrot. Shouldn't we leave at least as much capabitlies to your/our soul? I am not sure a parrot has its SELF, but it does have at least some mental capabilities. But then the question comes again - can you see without eyes? can you think without a brain? (don't rather try it ).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post

    O.K. So the place to start a qualitative study is with a hypothesis. How about:

    "In rare cases, family members may receive messages from deceased relatives that generally serve one of two possible purposes:
    1. To let loved ones know that the deceased relative is o.k.
    2. To signal loved ones about an imminent danger or opportunity.

    Please feel free to improve the hypothesis or replace it with something better.
    Forget whether it will be a quantitative or qualitative study for now - the hypothesis will determine the most appropriate study design. Does the purpose of the deceased contacting the living matter? I don't think so, motive is irrelevant to whether it actually happens at this point.

    Also, does it have to involve family members? I'm sure you'll appreciate that the bereaved will have their own beliefs and biases to bring to the table. They could be willing to construe every piece of toast as a message from beyond the grave. There are also serious ethical considerations in recruiting the bereaved - these people are vulnerable and we will be playing with their emotions.

    Do this sound reasonable? Could you refine the hypothesis to avoid these problems?
    I think it is quite reasonable Prometheus. I must confess to have no experience in study design. In fact my secret method to covering a lot of ground in journals is to read the abstract, and then read the discussion.

    You seem to have much more experience in this area. Could you re-phrase the hypothesis?
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    I agree that what I have stated is too broad. But whatever the definition of soul is, one of the properties it will have is its existence after life ends.
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    O.K., if we are to verify, in a more or less scientific or logical way, the existence of a soul, we must define it specifying all its essential properties not just one of them, and a very vague one - it is something that exists after somebody has died. I am not an expert in this area (as you might have noticed), but I do not think there may be a self without consciousness or consciousness without some intelligence, thinking, sensing, without any ability to feel some emotions.
    So maybe our first task is to answer the following kind of questions:
    should the thing that we would like to call a soul be conscious?
    should it feel emotions?
    should it remember anything?
    should it see/hear/perceive anything?
    should it be limited in time and space?
    should it have any physical properties?

    Would a soul (if we assumed it existed independently of a body) of a crippled person be crippled or would it be quite fit? If you choose the first option – should it be possible to cripple a body without harming a soul? If yes, then you practically switch to option No.2. If you choose option No. 2 – why shouldn’t a soul ever take over the functions of a deteriorating body, when it essentially duplicates them?
    If a soul should be somehow related to our feelings, decisions, ideas, then how could it be independent of our senses which clearly shape all of the above and which are clearly vulnerable to numerous environmental assaults?
    So what would a soul of a Mr. Smith have really in common with that Mr. Smith?
    Last edited by Post_nacz; September 18th, 2011 at 05:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Could you re-phrase the hypothesis?
    No, i'd be clutching at straws since i don't actually believe in the soul. But i'll work with you to generate one.

    Reduced to it's lowest denominator we are saying that 'something' - as yet undefined - survives death. We are not talking about physical matter, it is obvious a decaying body is left, but something which retains some element of personality of the deceased and has nothing to do with the corpse which is left (i presume burial versus cremation has no effect on your idea of a soul). This something also needs to somehow be able to interact with the universe in some way (else how would messages be transmitted to relatives). It is at this interaction that the 'something' may be detectable. A hypothesis would need to include this interaction. Based on your beliefs, how would this interaction manifest?
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    Could someone remind my why time travel doesn't work as a good counter theory to God?

    At least it doesn't require us to throw out all the known laws of physics (time travel is not actually inconsistent with them.) We don't need to revise our whole understanding of the universe to allow a mysterious being who can just do whatever he/she/it wants, regardless of the rules. And.... we still have an afterlife. The "soul" becomes a little bit dubious, but if your consciousness is never going to die, then it also becomes kind of a moot point.
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    And.... we still have an afterlife. The "soul" becomes a little bit dubious, but if your consciousness is never going to die, then it also becomes kind of a moot point.
    Where does that come from?
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    Maybe the most reasonable hypothesis about what happens to men after death and how to best go around with it was formulated in the old latin song:

    Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus.
    Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus!
    Post iucundam iuventutem,
    post molestam senectutem,
    nos habebit humus,
    nos habebit humus.


    Vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur.
    Vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur.
    Venit mors velociter, rapit nos atrociter,
    nemini parcetur, nemini parcetur! (ref.)

    Ubi sunt, qui ante nos, in mundo fuere?
    Ubi sunt, qui ante nos, in mundo fuere?
    Vadite ad superos, transite ad inferos.
    Ubi? Iam fuere.
    Ubi? Iam fuere!


    Let us rejoice, therefore, While we are young. After a pleasant youth After a troubling old age The earth will have us.

    Our life is brief Soon it will end. Death comes quickly Snatches us cruelly To nobody shall it be spared.
    Where are they who, before us,
    Were in the world? Go to the heavens Cross over into hell If you wish to see them.

    (However, in the latin version I gave above, the underlined part is rather sthg. like "they have existed already" - sort of "their turn is over"?)

    It comes from Wikipedia

    Last edited by Post_nacz; September 21st, 2011 at 06:16 AM.
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    Could your please re-state that hypothesis in plain, present-day English?
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    O.K., specially for you
    Our life is brief. It ends soon. Death comes quickly. The earth will have us. Those who were in the world before us, they just were, they don't exist any more. Just the same will happen to us. But before our time comes, cheer up, live and enjoy it.
    And beyond that song, continuing the hypothesis,
    you will not survive death as an integral, conscious personality (soul), but you will surely contribute "your" atoms to the existence of nature, so wonderful, though savage. Moreover, you have an atom of chance to contribute your ideas, memories, emotions, your germs of mems, to the existence of human civilization. Not so bad altogether?!
    Last edited by Post_nacz; September 23rd, 2011 at 02:03 AM.
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    Thanks for your explanation.

    hypothesis one: matters that constituted life are conserved after death. (conservation of matter)
    hypothesis two: ideas can be replicated and survive in ideas pool. (But (my addition) may later evolved or die)
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    Hypothesis three. There is no other way for a human to enter eternity.
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    no other way apart from ...?
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    no other way apart from ...?
    Oh, isn't it clear?
    There seems to be no way for a human to enter eternity, other than
    1.) remaining a part of nature, participating (after having been decomposed to the most fundamental elements) in its biogeochemical "reincarnations", its "atomic shuffling"
    2.) contributing to human culture, thus perpetuating part of your self/soul, as human culture is practically eternal (at least compared to human lifespan).
    Of course, situation No. 1 is not an option, it is a phenomenon that is going to concern every body and it will not preserve any bit of anybody's individuality, unlike situation/option 2, which unfortunately is accessible only to an ifinitesimal fraction of human population.
    In a very remote future new options might emerge however, if the idea of H+ (transhumanism), knowledge of biology of human ageing, and technology of data storage or artificial intelligence make great strides.
    Last edited by Post_nacz; September 26th, 2011 at 02:17 AM.
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    I see.

    But it may not be true. Bad ideas may not stick around. For example, are you sure that the present culture contains something that are contributed by your great-great-great-great-grandfather?
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    I see.

    But it may not be true. Bad ideas may not stick around. For example, are you sure that the present culture contains something that are contributed by your great-great-great-great-grandfather?
    You are right, absolutely! That is why I say that transferring someone's views, experiences or emotions into the treasury of human culture is the way of ascending to eternity, that can be reached only by very very few people. And please, notice, I am using the word "eternity" in a somewhat different way than it is usually used in religious contexts. For me eternity is much more relative, it has many shades and levels. The idea of absolute eternity is rather useless, as no one could ever be sure that it exists (it refers to infinity but we should wait till the end of the world to verify if something is eternal; and if it is, the moment of verification would never come). So for me, eternity means just a very long period. If I knew pretty much about my great-great-great-great-grandfather - his views, ideas, experiences - than I could assume he has reached a certain level of eternity, however it would still be at a different level than that of - let's say - Plato or Thales of Miletus, unless both me and you and practically any other educated person would be familiar with him. On the other hand, nowadays it seems a bit easier to make a name for oneself. You don't need to be a giant of intellect (or even a monster). It is enough to be somebody like Marilyn Monroe. I hope it will be still easier in the future
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  74. #73 Disentangling several strands, and finding that one runs throughout: namely, "subjective continuity". 
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    This thread, "life after death," weaves together several conceptual strands. I see discussion of:
    • survival (whole or partial)
    • indestructibility and eternity
    • information transfer
    • theology of the soul
    • elemental turnover in the body
    and some other concepts variously related to the thread topic.

    I have ordinary views on these concepts -- or ordinary for this forum. I'll just say that I do not see how any of these concepts lead to a positive rational assertion wrt "life after death". No one strand, by itself, carries the force of positive assertion. Though several concepts are brought together in this thread, the woven strands do not actually reinforce each other.

    In my view.

    There is however an applicable concept which has not yet been isolated in this forum thread. I think it should be isolated for discussion because it may itself be strong enough to carry the force of positive rational assertion. Subjective continuity is a distinct concept with application to the thread topic of "life after death". It's a strand of thought that carries considerable force -- and it's a strand running throughout this forum thread, thus far only implicitly.

    Elsewhere (in essay and forum) I've tried to make the concept explicit, and I've applied it to this thread's topic explicitly. I did this in context of the professional literature on "personal identity" and the "stream of consciousness", which in my view act together to frame subjective continuity well.

    If the thread topic is still under discussion here, you might have a look. Essay chapters 8 and 9 are of the most direct relevance. Also previous forum discussions (1 and 2) subjected essay reasoning to criticism; the forum posts could inform or forestall criticisms which you might conceive independently. So that also might be worth a look.

    Anyway, I'd be curious to see how essay reasoning and prior forum posts might spark thoughts among thread participants today.

    Hail Athena, and all the best.

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  75. #74  
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    Imo, your body is made of the same type of subatomic particles as a cloud of hydrogen. If the particles in your body had been in a different environment, lets say deep space far from gravitational bodies, you would not exist as you perceive yourself to be and would be drifting atoms spread out across space. What make you, you, is the pattern and process of interaction between particles/molecules/cells in what you consider to be your body(shaped by the environment) itself and the environment(which you are a part of). Most of your cells have probably died off and been replaced, by re-organizing molecules absorbed from the environment, mostly from cells of other creatures. Most likely, your consciousness is the emergent property of the interaction between your cells(ex:neurons) between themselves and the environment which is probably more complex than the interaction between a mass of typical bacteria. If any neuron can be replaced by another, I conclude that we are not the flesh but an emergent property, the pattern of interaction change/information, made possible by the physical pattern.
    I conclude that currently, when we die the pattern is broken, kaput, game over(from our consciousness's perspective) the molecules are distributed and can be reintegrated in other forms of life, the information we had is lost but some of it (concepts, observations, stories, etc) exists among humans (and may be replicated because its passed on along or because similar situations can reoccur). So there is life after death(at this stage in the universe), but not yours, not your specific pattern. In the future we might live longer and potentially transfer our memory/neural pattern in digital environments so it continues to exist for a while longer while humanity(or post-human consciousness) continues to explore and learn and understand what the universe is.
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  76. #75  
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    What kind of evidence would be convincing? Suppose a man dies. His corpse is incinerated, and the ashes are spread over a lake. A year later he is magically resurrected. He recounts his experience of dying - a bright light at the end of a tunnel....etc. Do we take his word for it, or do we assume that was just his brain going into a dream state in the last few moments of life?

    Now, suppose instead that the man dies, gets incinerated.... etc. And a year later, instead of being resurrected, a semi-transparent image of him returns, able to walk through walls and stuff, and recounts his experience of dying - a bright light at the end of a tunnel .... etc. Do we trust him then, or just treat this as another variation on the other situation?

    The question is whether the theory that there is no afterlife is a disprovable theory. If it's not disprovable by any possible form of evidence, then it's not truly a scientific theory. In that event, probably both theories become non-disprovable, and the question simply isn't approachable by science. However we're not to that point yet. Can someone please think of a kind of evidence that would resolve this question?
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    Assuming, with a disregard for all belief-systems, we're speaking in terms of strictly science. One possibility for an 'afterlife' is actually more like a 'half-life', at least that's how I've always seen it. If this has already been mentioned, my apologies.

    The way I like to look at it, as a more scientific model, is like this: Let's just say for the sake of an easier model, your heart stops and you die. During that time, your brain starts shutting down. At some point during your brain shutting down, you will lose the concept of the passage of time - due to that part of your brain being dead. Meaning whatever functions of consciousness left would seem to exist for an eternity, whilst actually being a couple of minutes.
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    If for every action there is an infinite amount of possible outcomes then could one of them be life after death? If so then my next question is this: is dying an action or the cessation of actions?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  79. #78  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If for every action there is an infinite amount of possible outcomes then could one of them be life after death?
    What is an action anyway?

    For an unstable nucleus at a given moment, there are only two outcomes - decaying, or not decaying.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  80. #79  
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    First of all, there is a physical, natural world which, for the most part, we agree on as to its characteristics and laws and how it works within the knowledge base we have built up over the centuries of human observation and testing.

    There are some people (naturalists) who believe this is the sum total of the Universe and anything which cannot be defined in terms of the physical, natural world does not exist.

    There are other people who believe the physical, natural world is only a part of the totality of that which exists.

    We all agree that so long as we are alive, we are a part of this physical, natural world. (Although I do recall a girl I thought was out of this world!!) Some people believe that when we cease to exist (that is, die) in this physical, natural world, we cease to exist at all. Some others believe that when we cease to exist (that is, die) in this physical, natural world some aspect of our being survives and enters into a different kind of existence.

    At some point previously on this thread, someone expressed dismay that we do not attempt to return to this existence. I am wondering just how many here would be willing to return to the womb which was, in it's own way, a much more comfortable existence than we have here outside the womb. But whether we wanted to do that or not, it is physically impossible.

    Assuming, arguendo, that a part of our existence survives death of the physical body and enters into a new kind of existence, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that whatever it is that survives could not return to a dead body to regain entry into this physical and natural world. And, to the best of my knowledge, all living bodies would already be occupied.

    We do not seem to be able to quantify or qualify anything in the Universe other than that which we are able to quantify or qualify. (Such profoundness there.) That does not mean nothing else exists. If it does exist, it exists in a form which is not subject to the laws of the physical, natural Universe.

    Early on, Bunberry observed:
    We also don't know if there are six legged pink elephants hiding in another dimension. But I won't lose any sleep over it.
    I'm not inclined to be concerned about that either since no one is trying to tell me that my essence is destined to end up in that pink elephant's dimension and that the pink elephant has the authority and power to determine my fate in that dimension based solely on what I believed about the pink elephant while I existed in this dimension. Nor does the pink elephant religion have a 4,000 year history of followers and believers. I point this out only to suggest that the comparison between pink elephants and the God of the three major monotheistic religions is illogical and invalid.

    The problem for believers is that there is no existing proof method which suffices. Can't use math or geometric proofs, though they would infallibly demonstrate the truth or lack of truth of the matter. Can't use scientific proof which is based on extrapolations of known laws upon unknown phenomena. Perhaps might be able to use historical proof except that since it is not repeatable, it cannot be subjected to scientific method of testing and repeating. Cannot use legal proof because, again, events are not repeatable but can only be verified by testimony and exhibits which are dependent upon the credibility of the witness which may be even more subject to the biases of the person observing the testimony and exhibits. Philosophical proof is also out because it is based on logic which we find easy to overrule because of our own biases.

    The discussion usually boils down to one of four concepts:

    1. The Universe is but an illusion.
    2. The Universe is eternal.
    3. The Universe emerged from nothing, creating itself.
    4. The Universe is finite but was created by an infinite intelligent being.

    The first two concepts have little following today. The third concept is the naturalist explanation while the fourth concept is advanced by creationism.

    There is absolutely no scientific evidence which supports or refutes any of these concepts or their subsequent tangent concepts. If you cannot substantiate or refute the base concept, the corollary concepts also remain unsubstantiated and unrefuted.

    When it comes to these concepts, we don't "know" anything. But we all believe one of them.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  81. #80  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    First of all, there is a physical, natural world which, for the most part, we agree on as to its characteristics and laws and how it works within the knowledge base we have built up over the centuries of human observation and testing.

    There are some people (naturalists) who believe this is the sum total of the Universe and anything which cannot be defined in terms of the physical, natural world does not exist.
    Even if we let go of the physical specifically, a soul would still possess the trait of containing information. So where does the information go? The laws of entropy allow information to be effectively destroyed or scrambled beyond recognition, but if the information isn't scrambled and/or destroyed, then something must be storing it.

    If we allow it to go to a parallel universe then we're still looking at it as a physical quantity. If we allow an ectoplasmic ghost/soul/spirit to contain all of that information, all we're really proposing is a new kind of matter.



    There are other people who believe the physical, natural world is only a part of the totality of that which exists.

    If you think about it, that really just means they believe the physical, natural world has more aspects than those which were originally apparent. Whatever causes an afterlife is still part of the universe if you consider to universe to be the whole of existence. If you want to redefine the word "universe" to mean something else (like just the part of the whole of existence that we're familiar with), then I guess you're free to, but then you'd only be making the English language more complicated than it already is.

    If I redefine the word "house" to include everything except the kitchen, then I guess when I'm in the kitchen I'm not home.
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  82. #81  
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    Kojax asked:
    Even if we let go of the physical specifically, a soul would still possess the trait of containing information. So where does the information go?
    I think before we could even consider attempting to answer that question, we would have to determine where it came from in the first place. Your question is far more complex and intelligent than it, at first, appears to be.

    While your own response looks at the entirety of the Universe, your question is on information storage and must begin with DNA coding -- the largest repository of information known to mankind. However, implicit in your question and following sentences, there seems to be an underlying question as to how such information could be stored without the existence of the coding repository -- a physical container.

    I have no problem with your naturalistic descriptions of the Universe. However, we know the Universe has its (ever expanding) limits but we are unable to define what, if anything, exists beyond those limits. Yet, if the Universe is expanding, there must be something beyond it to expand into. But that expectation is base on our naturalistic understanding of the Universe.

    Even those of us of a religious, spiritual mindset are limited and bound by our natural world in defining and describing that which we may consider exists beyond it. We have no other frame of reference. This is, perhaps, both a blessing and a curse.

    I cannot speak for others and what they might think, but I do suggest that it would be a common belief among Judo-Christian believers that God is not, in any way, a physical essense and yet He would, even in His non-physical essense, possess the trait of containing information.

    I can only suggest that if God exists and was behind the most complex of information storage devices in this physical world, there is no reason to disbelieve that He could also devise some other non-physical storage mechanism.

    But I think your overall question is vastly interesting in the abstract. I think what you are really asking is how can the essense of personhood remain once the physical part of that person, which holds that person's essense (his or herT DNA), has ceased to function?

    I cannot answer that question other than to say that if Someone put that essense into the coding, He is the only one who can ensure that it survives.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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  83. #82  
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    Actually there is a lot of research on it. There are peer-reviewed journals out there like the Journal of Near-Death Studies and the Journal of Parapsychology that deals with this field. Here's a good summary of research in this field in the past 30 years: Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    I have no problem with your naturalistic descriptions of the Universe. However, we know the Universe has its (ever expanding) limits but we are unable to define what, if anything, exists beyond those limits. Yet, if the Universe is expanding, there must be something beyond it to expand into. But that expectation is base on our naturalistic understanding of the Universe.
    I'm afraid not Dayton. The universe is not expanding into anything. Space itself is simply expanding. Have a look HERE.

    Even those of us of a religious, spiritual mindset are limited and bound by our natural world in defining and describing that which we may consider exists beyond it. We have no other frame of reference. This is, perhaps, both a blessing and a curse.
    It doesn't stop you from inventing whatever concepts outside of science you like to justify your beliefs with and to then cite the fact that science doesn't know everything to try and lend a dubious credence to whatever you come up with, does it?

    I cannot speak for others and what they might think, but I do suggest that it would be a common belief among Judo-Christian believers that God is not, in any way, a physical essense and yet He would, even in His non-physical essense, possess the trait of containing information.
    Weird. So the father and the son are also ghosts or made up of the all-purpose, ill-defined concept of "spirit"? I.e. a substance that can exist while being conveniently resistant to detection.

    But I think your overall question is vastly interesting in the abstract. I think what you are really asking is how can the essense of personhood remain once the physical part of that person, which holds that person's essense (his or herT DNA), has ceased to function?
    DNA can't hold a person's "essence". Two clones given to different mothers will produce two different people with their DNA unchanged.

    Nor does the pink elephant religion have a 4,000 year history of followers and believers. I point this out only to suggest that the comparison between pink elephants and the God of the three major monotheistic religions is illogical and invalid.
    Why do you use this as justification for your beliefs? Don't you think people are capable of believing in nonsense for thousands of years on end? Would you like me to provide examples? What do you think people believed in for the 196 000 odd years before your brand of belief came along? What did Neanderthals believe in?

    The first two concepts have little following today. The third concept is the naturalist explanation while the fourth concept is advanced by creationism.

    There is absolutely no scientific evidence which supports or refutes any of these concepts or their subsequent tangent concepts. If you cannot substantiate or refute the base concept, the corollary concepts also remain unsubstantiated and unrefuted.
    Nonsense. There is NO unambiguous evidence that your particular brand of god exists or had a hand in our development through the ages. In contrast, history is flooded by mysterious concepts previously attributed to gods that have been explained through naturalistic processes.

    There are other people who believe the physical, natural world is only a part of the totality of that which exists.
    You have been forced into this stance by the relentless progress of science. It is your only remaining avenue to be able to keep onto your beliefs.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post

    I can only suggest that if God exists and was behind the most complex of information storage devices in this physical world, there is no reason to disbelieve that He could also devise some other non-physical storage mechanism.
    I think this "physical" vs. "non-physical" distinction is kind of like the "inside the universe" vs. "outside the universe" distinction. It's purely arbitrary. If the storage medium is "non-physical", that's only because we decided to draw an arbitrary line and categorize every type of matter with which we are familiar as falling within the "physical" category, and whatever stuff is being used as a storage medium as falling outside of it.

    If we define "matter" as anything that can be interacted with, then a spirit would also have matter.


    But I think your overall question is vastly interesting in the abstract. I think what you are really asking is how can the essense of personhood remain once the physical part of that person, which holds that person's essense (his or herT DNA), has ceased to function?

    I cannot answer that question other than to say that if Someone put that essense into the coding, He is the only one who can ensure that it survives.
    Yeah. If there's a god watching over us, then he can probably preserve our information. Even a highly technologically advanced alien might possess that ability.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LXH View Post
    Actually there is a lot of research on it. There are peer-reviewed journals out there like the Journal of Near-Death Studies and the Journal of Parapsychology that deals with this field. Here's a good summary of research in this field in the past 30 years: Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research
    NDE's are just that, no death experienced (couldn't resist). Absolutely useless when discussing a life after death. Definitely something going on in the mind as death approaches but not much after every cell in your body has died. At least no one has come back with proof, to talk about it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    i think that the everybody knows that how happens after the death and the scientist also discover that the what happens after the death.so one main thing is that our soul based on a ubiquity and the error in religious claims for corporal properties.so that i also read all the comments and i also collect the information that what happens after the death.
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    About existence of a separate soul and body, There is a simple reasoning. When someone pinches you, you feel pain. Let's examine that process. When you are pinched, there are ionic disturbances in the sensory neurons in that area and an electric impulse is created. That impulse is carried to a part of the Brain. Now, let's see two cases: 1.One without presence of soul and 2. one with soul. If there was no soul, the impulses that reached Brian would simply be transferred to motor neurons connecting the respective muscle and that muscle is activated and we withdraw our body from pain. There won't be feeling of pain. There would just be immediate withdrawal from the area of danger with out us feeling any pain. But, We do feel pain. When I say we feeling the pain, There should be something other than the body, to feel the pain.
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    It may seem unproductive to think much about this, but after decades I still can't help it: it seems to me that all efforts to prove that anything exists outside of our mind are circular and can't be anything else. Solipsism at its worst, and my brain can't get past it. It seems to me that Descartes was right to the extent that thinking proves that something exists, however we define "existence". We might as well call that something "me" even if we join the Buddhists in declaring that "me" is an illusory substitute for non-specific awareness lacking in permanent character. But my problem with Descartes and the scientific method is this: the core Cartesian proof doesn't go on to prove the existence of objective reality. "I think there's an objective reality, therefore there is one" is just not the same as "I think therefore I am". Scientists (aided by Kant's "a priori" construct) take a further leap, building assumption on assumption: if there's an objective reality and "I" am part of it, my 5 limited senses must be endowed with the capacity (even to a small degree) to accurately understand what this objective reality is. Their proof: empiricism and experimentation are what keep humans alive.

    My problem with this is that while empiricism, experimentation work, the may still be human inventions. A scientist would object: they're not "inventions" they're "discoveries". We only found what was there all along. But that assumes objective, or consensual, reality. The only way to "prove" that anything outside "me" was there all along still seems tautological: well, since "I'm" here, there must be an objective reality for "me" to exist within. Why? It is, I know, the classic adolescent question -- but I still don't think it's answerable.

    The pragmatist's view (which Hume first presented, I think) is that we have no choice: we consider consensual reality to be real because it's all we have. But consider our 5 limited senses. Buddha added the mind as the 6th, with which I tend to agree. First, how much "rounding" do we all have to semi-consciously agree to in order to reach a common view of what consensual reality is? When I'm feverish, I might have hallucinations. Are these tricks of my mind, or visions of another level of reality -- perhaps a privileged look at our "consensual reality" from another angle? When I wear sunglasses the day is darker than when I don't. When I drink coffee, or take certain medications, my view of life changes, sometimes dramatically. In fact it's likely that, at a very subtle level, every bite of food I ingest alters the way the world looks, feels, smells, tastes, sounds, etc. If I ingest LSD nearly everything changes. If my brain is injured, as Oliver Sachs keeps showing us, everything about the world may change. Even at birth, depending on which of my genes are turned on, I may have a more vivid sense of color than you; perhaps greater or lesser sensitivity to sound and music. And with the continual birth and death of my gray matter, and the strengthening and weakening of my various synaptic connections, "reality" keeps changing. There's also dementia, Alzheimer's, clinical depression -- mental conditions that temporarily or permanentally will fundamentally change who "I" am.

    I, then, am the sum of infinite parts that change from instant to instant. Every atom that comprises my body today is different from the atoms that comprised it a few years ago. Physically, today's "me" resembles the earlier one, but that's all. "I," then, seem to be not a "thing" but a pattern -- a blueprint that sustains itself by continually pulling in the atoms it needs to keep rebuliding approximations of itself, again and again. If "I" am only a pattern made up of atoms chosen by the pattern itself, isn't the pattern, not the atoms themselves, my "consciousness"? And won't that pattern continue to exist even when it's no longer able or willing to replenish its atoms -- i.e., after it "dies" -- the same way a Platonic ideal never dies? And if we replace the word "consciousness" with the word "soul" can't we conclude that although a "soul" may cease to be aware of itself as an "I" once its atoms disperse for the last time, it nevertheless can't "die" any more than it was "born"? It always exists as one of an infinite number of possibilities. Except -- why isn't it possible that patterns actually are conscious of themselves? What if we invert the assumption of much current brain science and suggest that rather than neuronal patterns determining the patterns of consciousness, it's the patterns of consciousness (eternally existing potentialities) that organize atoms into neuronal patterns to bring about and maintain pattern-integrity? If so "I' am at least partly independent of my body -- not the "I" that I am when embodied, but maybe something similar. One branch of Quantum thinking posits the notion that in an infinite universe anything that "can" exist does, indeed an infinite number of times.

    Except -- the foregoing little game still doesn't refute solipsism. Then again, maybe no-one has to. Isn't Einstein's dream of a unified field a grander version of solipsism? If all is unified then nothing exists outside my grand, unified, infinite "I" -- of which you're all part. My understanding of Buddha's cosmology suggests an affinity -- in Buddhist terms the human project is to recognize that any separation between things is an illusion. The teleological imperative for the Grand Mind is to help its parts - "us" - realize that there aren't any parts. Your body is therefore a metaphor for the Grand Mind. Biologists make the case that life forms are collaborative ventures among cells. We say that cells in our body are "alive" or "dead," but in that context what we mean is very different from what we mean when we apply those words to our "selves". Once again, why? Is "my" death different from the death of one of my cells? Isn't it only different in scale? Or is "my" dying an example of the whole being "greater than the sum of its parts": i.e., when too many of my cells die, something greater dies too?

    Or is consciousness in infinite series of concentric existences. If each of my individual cells has its own form of consciousness, is there life after death for each of them? If "I" can change so dramatically when a bunch of my brain cells are killed, what is it I'm hoping will live after death -- which part of what my cells helped embody?

    The trouble with (and appeal of) "scientism" is similar to that of "religion": the baseline assumption must be that there's something fixed and immutable -- something! Quantum mechanics seems to suggest otherwise, siding here with Buddha. Einstein helped invent quantum mechanics but for the rest of his life wished he hadn't, at one point devising a thought experiment that he hoped would kill it off; instead, a few years after he died it ended up ratifying it (so far). And now we even have the holotropic principle which as I understand it posits that we might be holographic projections of something from the surface of a distant black hole. Well why not?

    Maybe my point really is that the question of "life after death" assumes the existence of "life distinct from death" which brings me back to Descartes. Something must exist because some sort of "I" perceives, even if the "I" that's perceiving and whatever it perceives may be nothing like what the "I" believes they are. From that point, science becomes as faith-based as religion. The faith is different in kind but not superior in an "objective" way -- because there isn't an "objective" way. Scientists argue that theologians build castles in the air out of fear, passion, and imagination. Theologians argue that's what scientists do -- except theology is less arrogant because it accepts limits to what "we" can know. If I argue that humans invented logic; empiricism; scientific method; proof; objectivity; math, scientists will object, claiming we didn't invent them, we discovered them. Theologians will then happily embrace this scientific notion -- because if such constructs were there to be discovered, someone had to have put them there, right? False logic, say the scientists (and I agree) - its anthropocentric to believe that something had to put them there. Also we can't just "believe" in their validity -- we have to "prove" it through experiments that "work" in the real world. Except, I ask again, what's this "real" world? Scientists acknowledge that "reality" is constantly changing. Einstein and others explained a little of "why" and "how" it changes -- but quantum physics quickly threw a lot of those explanations into question, as superstring theory now seems to be doing to certain assumptions of quantum physics. And, I stubbornly, repeat: still, no-one has proven that anything outside "me" exists. Does that make "I" and "you" an aspect or even full embodiment of "God" or "the Universe"? Romantic nonsense, says Science. Blasphemy, says Theology.

    Theologians say they didn't invent God any more than scientists invented logic: both were discovered; realized. Fine. But a scientist who insists he/she is about to discover the Theory of Everything is actually a theologian, because such a notion is absurdly anthropocentric. Pharoahs said the same thing (well, they'd already discovered it).

    All of which continues to push me in non-rational directions (theology is rational, just like science, once you swallow their emphatic, irrational assumptions). Writers, artists, musicians, poets, dancers, actors, etc. etc. carry at least as much power to understand, move and inspire.

    Hey, it's been fun!
    Last edited by Burt; October 31st, 2013 at 08:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burt View Post
    My problem with the scientific method has always been that it relies on the rather arrogant assumption that simply because "I" am convinced that there's an objective reality
    Nope.
    The scientific methods accepts (more or less by default) that there's an objective reality - because otherwise there'd be no point investigating. And, of course, it's not taken as "read" simply because "I" am convinced: it's because everyone involved agrees that what "I" see is how it appears to them. (Hint: that's why it's called consensual).

    When I'm extremely feverish, I may have hallucinations. Are these tricks of my mind, or might they be visions of another level of reality -- or a privileged look at our "consensual reality" from another angle?
    If you're the one seeing it that and no-one else is then it's hardly a consensual reality, neh?

    Taking this further, Einstein's dream of a unified field can actually be seen as an extension of the solipsistic view because if all is unified then actually nothing does exist outside of a single grand, infinite "I" of which we're all parts
    What?
    Einstein's unified field is physics. It won't, and wasn't intended to, say anything about "I".

    i.e., it's certainly possible that my individual cells each also has a form a consciousness, isn't it?
    Define consciousness, then we'll talk about whether or not cells have it.

    "scientism"
    Ah, here we go..

    Quantum mechanics seems to suggest otherwise, and to come down on the side of the Buddha.
    No.

    And rapid descent into rhetoric...
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LXH View Post
    Actually there is a lot of research on it. There are peer-reviewed journals out there like the Journal of Near-Death Studies and the Journal of Parapsychology that deals with this field. Here's a good summary of research in this field in the past 30 years: Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research
    NDE's are just that, no death experienced (couldn't resist). Absolutely useless when discussing a life after death. Definitely something going on in the mind as death approaches but not much after every cell in your body has died. At least no one has come back with proof, to talk about it.
    What amazes me is the amount of memory that continues in these NDE situations. How is memory able to work at these times when the brain appears to be out of order? Has someone got a simple explanation for that?
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    Burt Wall-of-Words....please don't reopen long dead threads.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LXH View Post
    Actually there is a lot of research on it. There are peer-reviewed journals out there like the Journal of Near-Death Studies and the Journal of Parapsychology that deals with this field. Here's a good summary of research in this field in the past 30 years: Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research
    NDE's are just that, no death experienced (couldn't resist). Absolutely useless when discussing a life after death. Definitely something going on in the mind as death approaches but not much after every cell in your body has died. At least no one has come back with proof, to talk about it.
    What amazes me is the amount of memory that continues in these NDE situations. How is memory able to work at these times when the brain appears to be out of order? Has someone got a simple explanation for that?
    As long as the brain has not died, then memory is possible. You can be unconscious and still have recall. Consciousness and memory do not necessarily operate synergistically.

    I went to a lecture last week on a "memory enzyme" called PKMzeta. Inhibit this enzyme and memory fails. Thus, if you are unconscious, but the particular cause of the unconsciousness spares or at least does not kill this enzyme, then memory can be preserved.

    Specific drugs can also separate memory and consciousness to some extent.

    Regarding "afterlife", some problems are beyond our ability to study scientifically in a prospective study. There are no prospective studies on whether parachutes are safer than jumping out of a plane with an umbrella. That does not mean that science did not go into the design of the parachute. Most of the evidence for afterlife is anecdotal. Many societal interventions are done based on anecdotal evidence. Aviation would be a good example. Analysis of a single accident or near miss can change an industry.

    Thus, it is more of a theological question than a scientific question. If based on your theology, an anecdote that describes the afterlife "makes sense", then you tend to believe the anecdote.

    It is so far not possible to prospectively study "after life" any more than we can prospectively study the crash of an airplane. I think the movie "Flatliners" was about a misguided attempt to study afterlife.

    That does not mean that afterlife does not exist.
    Last edited by dedo; November 1st, 2013 at 04:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LXH View Post
    Actually there is a lot of research on it. There are peer-reviewed journals out there like the Journal of Near-Death Studies and the Journal of Parapsychology that deals with this field. Here's a good summary of research in this field in the past 30 years: Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research
    NDE's are just that, no death experienced (couldn't resist). Absolutely useless when discussing a life after death. Definitely something going on in the mind as death approaches but not much after every cell in your body has died. At least no one has come back with proof, to talk about it.
    What amazes me is the amount of memory that continues in these NDE situations. How is memory able to work at these times when the brain appears to be out of order? Has someone got a simple explanation for that?
    As long as the brain has not died, then memory is possible. You can be unconscious and still have recall. Consciousness and memory do not necessarily operate synergistically.

    I went to a lecture last week on a "memory enzyme" called PKMzeta. Inhibit this enzyme and memory fails. Thus, if you are unconscious, but the particular cause of the unconsciousness spares or at least does not kill this enzyme, then memory can be preserved.

    Specific drugs can also separate memory and consciousness to some extent.
    That's the first I've heard of that. So even though the senses aren't working the memory is still operating? You would think to hear and remember spoken words you would need to be conscious? Thanks I'll Google that enzyme name.
    Result: Seems to be a food supplement with the same name, so there are just too many pages to look through.. Do you know the name of the article that definitely convinced you?
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    Here is one link to the memory enzyme:

    The enzyme that sharpens memory | ISRAEL21c

    I have not pulled other articles as I just attended the lecture last October.

    Yes, the memory can operate while you are unconscious; however, it is not predictable how much you will remember unless your are given a specific drug known to inhibit memory. That is well known e.g.: how much drug to be sure that there is no memory during the unconscious period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Here is one link to the memory enzyme:

    The enzyme that sharpens memory | ISRAEL21c

    I have not pulled other articles as I just attended the lecture last October.

    Yes, the memory can operate while you are unconscious; however, it is not predictable how much you will remember unless your are given a specific drug known to inhibit memory. That is well known e.g.: how much drug to be sure that there is no memory during the unconscious period.
    The memory enzyme only has any worth for people with Alzheimer's, it has no worth when all you are recalling is a dream or hallucination.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    When you die. You die. End of subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    What amazes me is the amount of memory that continues in these NDE situations. How is memory able to work at these times when the brain appears to be out of order? Has someone got a simple explanation for that?
    Define "out of order". Why would memory cease to function properly simply because the brain is put under duress?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    brother in law was aphasiac ...and out of order....but to try to put into words that made any sense was pretty impossible for him....frustrating for a brilliant man to no longer be able to speak and make sense.....so even aphasiac.....brain was functional....however ............not functioning normally
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    What amazes me is the amount of memory that continues in these NDE situations. How is memory able to work at these times when the brain appears to be out of order? Has someone got a simple explanation for that?
    Define "out of order". Why would memory cease to function properly simply because the brain is put under duress?
    I'm asking these questions because I don't know, not because I'm an expert on this fascinating topic.
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    I'd say that the concept of 'consciousness' has its place in science (from a research point of view), but religion, as it often does, hijacks it and implies that it has something to do with an ''after life''. (phases, dimensions, etc) I once followed Christianity, but after abandoning religion and faith in general, I can see the inherent flaws to that thinking. I think that for consciousness to be studied properly by science, the 'spiritual' aspect of it needs to be left completely out of the picture.
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