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Is Atheism in compatible with a belief in the Afterlife?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,320 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    railer201 wrote: »
    So I gather the possibility that this is a true story and the pilot was actually talking to the spirit of his deceased friend is not an option you would consider.

    I consider all options that come before me with any form of substantiation. This is not one of those cases. We know stories like this happen all the time.

    What I think people miss when parsing stories of this form is just how many people are on this planet. And just how many of them hear voices all the time.

    So stories like the one you link to are almost a statistical necessity. They HAVE to happen. Why? Because SO MANY people are hearing voices in this world that eventually SOME of them have to coincide with a real world event.

    A similar example is the people who claim things like "I was thinking about my friend, who I have not spoken to in 10 years..... and in THAT VERY MOMENT the friend phoned me!!!!!" as if some kind of psychic connection has occured.

    And initially there is a kind of "wow" factor to a story like that until rationality takes over and you realize A) People think about friends and relatives all the time, sometime numerous times per day. B) People ring old friends all the time. c) Statistically there are going to be numerous cases where these two things coincide.

    There is nothing remarkable at play there. What IS remarkable however is that someone can have a conversation with a person who demonstrably could not have been there and people rush to peddle this as evidence for an after life when what they SHOULD be rushing to do is inform the person in question that discussions with people who were not, and could not, have been there is a symptom that could be indicative of any number of underlying medical or psychological conditions. And he should be seeking the advice of numerous medical authorities, not the consultation of journalists.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,655 Mod ✭✭✭✭smacl


    railer201 wrote: »
    I'm more curious of what posters in A&A think of it. I don't have much problems in accepting it as possible fact - having heard other similar testimonies, plus some personal experiences along the same lines.

    Taking what people say as being true, even if they sincerely believe it true, without any strong supporting evidence is naive. On that basis God would exist, as would Allah, Shiva, Ganesh, Thor, Loki and Santa. In terms of trusted sources for testimony, those recovering from near death experiences would rank about the same as anyone else who'd had recent impairment to their mental faculties.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,724 ✭✭✭Panrich


    Is it though? People claiming to hear, or converse, with people or voices that are not there is quite common. Just like people claiming to get kidnapped and probed (anally, it is always anally) by aliens is common on every continent.

    I am not sure what level of thought you require we put into that though, or in what form.

    What could be food for thought is the tiny piece of the text you chose to BOLD for consideration. I can only assume you think that someone claiming to be some form of skeptic somehow lends credibility to their claims. You might want to engage in some level of introspection as to why that is.



    Except it is an indication of no such thing. The clue is in the name to help you out even. NEAR Death Experience. The patient did not die. They experienced what it is like to NEARLY die.

    Near Death Experience is no more an experience of the after life than me walking up to, and then away from, a plane in Dublin Airport is an experience of a week long holiday in Morocco.



    And people need to drink water, including atheists. Atheists are not some magical other species that different things happen to biologically. NDE is a real world phenomenon caused by a brain under extreme duress. There is no reason to expect it to function any differently for atheists than for theists.

    Now if ONLY Theists were having near death experiences, and atheists never did........ THAT would be interesting data. There would genuinely be something to explain of interest there in that case.

    But there is no reason, or at least none anyone like you has moved to make me aware of, to consider NDE an indication of there being any kind of after life.



    If at any highly unlikely point in my life I turn into a mugger, I have always intended to frame my mugging in similar language to that peddled by you god-botherer types.

    I could say things like "I am not threatening you with this knife, I am just saying that if you do not give me all your money and jewelry you are CHOOSING to accept my knife between your ribs".

    I am sure the moral distinction is one they will be highly appreciative of in the moment and afterwards.



    Except he did no such thing. But you are usefully demonstrating a very common lay man misunderstanding of the difference between "death" and "clinical death". The two are massively different things in many ways, but the lay public such as yourself as entirely unaware of the differences.

    Of course as medical and biological scientists WE are partially to blame for this. It is our job to educate a lay public on the differences. I also think we could pick better words for many things. Using the word "death" there when it is not actually "death" is, at best, misleading.

    Great post and on the money for me. I particularly like your Moroccan holiday analogy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,686 ✭✭✭✭Zubeneschamali


    railer201 wrote: »
    So I gather the possibility that this is a true story and the pilot was actually talking to the spirit of his deceased friend is not an option you would consider.

    People tell anecdotes like this which prove that ghosts are real. Also, that Jesus is real and talks to them. Also that Islam is true, and Hinduism, and Budhhism, and Shinto, and all the other religions in the world.

    But these religions cannot all be true - they contradict each other. After all - if human souls go straight to Heaven, or sleep until Judgement day, whichever version of Christianity you like, these souls will not be standing around Departures in Glasgow airport chatting to their mates. So if the Christians are correct, this story is false. Likewise if humans are reincarnated after death, they will not be appearing after death as adults.

    So, we know for a fact that people tell these kinds of stories even though most of them are false. Hence, we can dismiss them unless there is some evidence that they are true.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    If at any highly unlikely point in my life I turn into a mugger, I have always intended to frame my mugging in similar language to that peddled by you god-botherer types.

    I could say things like "I am not threatening you with this knife, I am just saying that if you do not give me all your money and jewelry you are CHOOSING to accept my knife between your ribs".

    I am sure the moral distinction is one they will be highly appreciative of in the moment and afterwards.
    I see it as more of a protection racket, since God isn't the one getting his hands dirty. He's just offering you the option of protection in case something bad should happen to your soul, which would be a real shame. Something bad like God's friend coming around and torturing you for a bit.

    of course God would have nothing to do with that if that happened you see, he just set up this system and gave his buddy the ability to torture people and put him in charge of it.

    God's a nice guy really, just looking out for you...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Brian? wrote: »
    Using near death experiences as proof of an afterlife is like using an people hearing voices as proof of the existence of god. Easy to claim and even easier to dismiss.
    They're not the same thing, by a long shot.

    With NDEs you have a flatlined brain with no eeg ... the supposed mechanism by which our mind exists and works ... and yet people are fully conscious, able to see and describe what was happening at the time ... even blind people.

    You guys claim to be swayed by the evidence ... and here you have got evidence ... that you are summarily dismissing ... without even investigating it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    I see it as more of a protection racket, since God isn't the one getting his hands dirty. He's just offering you the option of protection in case something bad should happen to your soul, which would be a real shame. Something bad like God's friend coming around and torturing you for a bit.

    of course God would have nothing to do with that if that happened you see, he just set up this system and gave his buddy the ability to torture people and put him in charge of it.

    God's a nice guy really, just looking out for you...
    The analogy is closer to a wayward stubborn child who continues to do everything they can to break their parents heart ... while causing themselves endless grief in the process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 252 ✭✭hgfj


    Here's my theory or thesis or whatever - you get what you believe in. Its all in the mind, literally.

    Over the years I've read maybe four or five books by different writers on near death experiences and one thing that seems to be common throughout most of these experiences is that people seem to report experiences that coincide with whatever their beliefs were beforehand. I have never read or heard of (yet) of anybody having an NDE and then converting from one religion to another. I've never heard of a Christian converting to Judaism as a result of a NDE, or a Jew converting to Hinduism, or a Muslim converting to Buddhism, etc. Basically I have yet to come across anybody coming back from a NDE and saying, Ok, the religion I believed in is wrong and therefore I'm switching from that belief to this belief. The exception would be an Atheist coming back saying, Now I believe in this or that which I didn't believe in before. But in most cases that I've read regarding Atheists who come back with a newfound belief is that they will usually revert back to a belief they previously had before they became an Atheist. A lot of people who are Atheist were brought up to believe in some religion or another. ie I am an Atheist but I was raised as a Catholic. Richard Dawkins was raised as an Anglican.

    What I reckon is that something happens within the brain. I don't know what, maybe a release of chemicals at the moment just before death be it endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, or whatever. DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) could be a likely candidate. Whatever it is that happens is like a reflex action that occurs in order to ease the passage from life to death. Most people don't want to die even if they say they don't wish to live forever.

    If this is the case (and I'm not saying specifically that it is) then the idea of what you believe in might be the difference between Heaven or Hell. Until the point when you actually do really die, ie true death, no return, lights out.

    So, if someone is brought up to believe in the existence of Hell, and if they feel guilt, be it justified or not, then they may have a horrendous experience just before they die. Their last experience.

    What I'm saying is people who preach to others about the reality of Hell may in fact be damning them to a Hell of sorts just by putting that idea into their consciousness. How cruel is that?


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    hgfj wrote: »
    Here's my theory or thesis or whatever - you get what you believe in. Its all in the mind, literally.

    Over the years I've read maybe four or five books by different writers on near death experiences and one thing that seems to be common throughout most of these experiences is that people seem to report experiences that coincide with whatever their beliefs were beforehand. I have never read or heard of (yet) of anybody having an NDE and then converting from one religion to another. I've never heard of a Christian converting to Judaism as a result of a NDE, or a Jew converting to Hinduism, or a Muslim converting to Buddhism, etc. Basically I have yet to come across anybody coming back from a NDE and saying, Ok, the religion I believed in is wrong and therefore I'm switching from that belief to this belief. The exception would be an Atheist coming back saying, Now I believe in this or that which I didn't believe in before. But in most cases that I've read regarding Atheists who come back with a newfound belief is that they will usually revert back to a belief they previously had before they became an Atheist. A lot of people who are Atheist were brought up to believe in some religion or another. ie I am an Atheist but I was raised as a Catholic. Richard Dawkins was raised as an Anglican.

    What I reckon is that something happens within the brain. I don't know what, maybe a release of chemicals at the moment just before death be it endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, or whatever. DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) could be a likely candidate. Whatever it is that happens is like a reflex action that occurs in order to ease the passage from life to death. Most people don't want to die even if they say they don't wish to live forever.

    If this is the case (and I'm not saying specifically that it is) then the idea of what you believe in might be the difference between Heaven or Hell. Until the point when you actually do really die, ie true death, no return, lights out.

    So, if someone is brought up to believe in the existence of Hell, and if they feel guilt, be it justified or not, then they may have a horrendous experience just before they die. Their last experience.

    What I'm saying is people who preach to others about the reality of Hell may in fact be damning them to a Hell of sorts just by putting that idea into their consciousness. How cruel is that?
    Its a point of view.
    ... many NDEs become Christians ... even some people who weren't 'cradle Christians'.
    ... be that as it may ... the really critical thing is that when the brain is flatlining (and should be incapable of any consciousness) the NDEs are observing everything that is happening to them ... and are able to recount it accurately afterwards.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 20,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭Brian?


    J C wrote: »
    They're not the same thing, by a long shot.

    With NDEs you have a flatlined brain with no eeg ... the supposed mechanism by which our mind exists and works ... and yet people are fully conscious, able to see and describe what was happening at the time ... even blind people.

    You guys claim to be swayed by the evidence ... and here you have got evidence ... that you are summarily dismissing ... without even investigating it.

    How you know there was no electrical activity in the brain during these "near death experiences"?

    they/them/theirs


    And so on, and so on …. - Slavoj Žižek




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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Brian? wrote: »
    How you know there was no electrical activity in the brain during these "near death experiences"?
    They have established that electrical activity flatlines, when the blood supply stops.

    ... equally, how do you account for NDEs seeing what was going on ... when their eyes are shut?


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    With NDEs you have a flatlined brain with no eeg ... the supposed mechanism by which our mind exists and works ... and yet people are fully conscious, able to see and describe what was happening at the time ... even blind people.
    How do you know that:
    1. A person has actually flatlined during an NDE?
    2. That a person is actually aware while they are flatlining?
    3. That the person reports events that only occur during the flatlining?
    4. That the events they report actually happen as described and in detail? (For example, claiming you saw doctors working on you while you are floating above them is too vague and general. Of course Doctors would be working on you...)

    Again, no NDE case has ever provided any confirmation of these factors or others. They always rely on gaps in this information.
    Like maybe they didn't really flat line as in some of the examples you posted. Or they report things that happen before and after the flatline as during because they misremember something from a time when they were drugged and confused. Or they only report generic, unprovable things that could have happened at any time while they were unconcious or asleep.

    There are dozens of explanation for NDEs, all of which you have to exclude somehow before you can conclude a supernatural explanation.
    J C wrote: »
    You guys claim to be swayed by the evidence ... and here you have got evidence ... that you are summarily dismissing ... without even investigating it.
    Because you are not providing evidence. You are providing unverifiable, unsupported anecdotes. For all you know these people could be actors hired by the documentary makers.

    And what about you? Why don't NDEs that involve non-christian heaven and afterlifes convince you? Do you think these don't happen?
    J C wrote: »
    The analogy is closer to a wayward stubborn child who continues to do everything they can to break their parents heart ... while causing themselves endless grief in the process.
    So then the parents are justified in torturing the child?
    Or abandoning them with a known torturer? (that have trained and financed)


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 20,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭Brian?


    J C wrote: »
    They have established that electrical activity flatlines, when the blood supply stops.

    "they"? By "blood supply stops" do you mean the heart stops beating?

    Actual research has shown that electrical activity continues for minutes after cardiac arrest. In rats it have been shown to increase immediately after cardiac arrest.

    ... equally, how do you account for NDEs seeing what was going on ... when their eyes are shut?

    No idea. Not a one. But I'm ok with that. I'm not a neuroscientist. I'm pretty sure neuroscience will explain it some day.

    Not knowing is fine with me. I don't need to fill the gap in knowledge with an afterlife or god.

    You're the one who is proposing an explanation. It's up to you to supply evidence for your explanation. People experiencing NDEs is nothing more than evidence that something happens to some people when their hearts stop.

    Let's be clear, the brain is very much alive and working for several minutes after the heart has stopped.

    they/them/theirs


    And so on, and so on …. - Slavoj Žižek




  • Registered Users Posts: 33,363 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato
    Golgafrinchan 'B' Ark


    Most people 'see things' when their eyes are shut several times every night...

    Here's what you could have won.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Most people 'see things' when their eyes are shut several times every night...
    ... but they don't 'see' what is going on around them, like clinically dead NDEs do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    like clinically dead NDEs do.
    No, they don't.

    Please provide a single instance where you can:
    1. Verify for a fact that the person was actually brain dead (not clinically dead),
    2. Verify for a fact that they accurately reported specific events that occurred during the period of brain death.

    If you cannot provide these things, then you cannot honestly claim that NDEs have any kind of supernatural element.

    The examples you have given do not prove your point because:
    1. They are not verified or verifiable in any point. For all you know, they are entirely fabricated.
    2. Several do not involve a person undergoing brain death.
    3. Several do not report any events that occur while they are unconscious.
    4. None of them report any events that occurred while they are unconscious and could not be learned another way or are simply generic and obvious.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 20,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭Brian?


    J C wrote: »
    ... but they don't 'see' what is going on around them, like clinically dead NDEs do.

    Care to respond to my post?

    I don't think anyone who has had an NDE was clinically dead.

    they/them/theirs


    And so on, and so on …. - Slavoj Žižek




  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,655 Mod ✭✭✭✭smacl


    J C wrote: »
    ... but they don't 'see' what is going on around them, like clinically dead NDEs do.

    Perhaps you could provide a link to a properly controlled study that verifies this, as I've searched and don't see anything of the kind. The only properly controlled study I could find suggests that NDE is possibly related to a surge of activity in the brain as it dies; http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/brain-metrics/could_a_final_surge_in Subjective testimony of those with seriously impaired cognitive function for whatever reason can hardly be consider objective evidence, merely subjective experience.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,320 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    J C wrote: »
    With NDEs you have a flatlined brain with no eeg ... the supposed mechanism by which our mind exists and works ... and yet people are fully conscious, able to see and describe what was happening at the time ... even blind people.

    That is one of those lay man fallacies of which I spoke in the post above that you abjectly ignored.

    A flat EEG does not in any way suggest the brain itself has flatlined. The Tools we use to measure brain activity measure very SPECIFIC brain activity. Not ALL activity. So when those machines flatten, it just tells us that THAT activity has stopped. Not ALL activity.

    It would be like me giving you a tool which detects "red" and sending you into a room full of Yellows and Greens. The machine would register nothing and you would come out saying there is no "red" in the room. You would NOT come out claiming there was no color of any kind in the room.
    J C wrote: »
    You guys claim to be swayed by the evidence ... and here you have got evidence ... that you are summarily dismissing ... without even investigating it.

    Except we do investigate it all the time. Sam Parnia for example.... someone HEAVILY biased TOWARDS finding evidence of an after life, has very much investigated the claim that people, "even blind people" can see the room they are in during NDE.

    And he came back with NOTHING to support it.

    And his experiments were sound and properly double blinded and so forth. But they basically consisted of placing concealed but highly unmissable and incongruent objects, in places where people would see them if they were ACTUALLY in the locations they reported being in during NDE (such as floating above the room looking down on their body).

    Not one single patient "returned" from their NDE reporting having seen such objects. Even accounting for their observation abilities and attentions being perturbed by the shock of finding themselves floating about..... you would expect to have at least one positive hit from 100s on something like this.

    But no.

    Not one.

    So the accusation that claims such as yours are somehow being dismissed without investigation could not be more disingenuous, poorly thought out, or false. Such claims are investigated often, and quite often by people who are biased heavily towards verifying them. And they still fail.

    Every.

    Time.
    J C wrote: »
    ... equally, how do you account for NDEs seeing what was going on ... when their eyes are shut?
    J C wrote: »
    ... but they don't 'see' what is going on around them, like clinically dead NDEs do.

    As I said above, there is no reason to think they actually ARE seeing anything. Experiments like Parnia's have failed to show anything of the sort. As soon as any kind of control or procedure or methodology of verification is brought to bear on the issue..... there is not a single verifiable case of it anywhere.

    ALL the data which you would hope supports a position like yours come from uncontrolled anecdote with absolutely no method of verification available to us.

    The MOMENT any kind of investigation is established, not a single verifiable case occurs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,845 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    I can give one personal example of the brain being fooled. Years ago in my teens we used occasionally do a daft thing where you have a darkened room, one person lies on a table and five others stand round and say a chant together, each person having just two index fingers under the person, so one would have the head, two would have two fingers each under the back and two under the legs. At the end of the chant (if everyone could get through it without laughing) everyone lifted and the person would be easily lifted by just the ten fingers. I had my turn as the victim and I felt myself being lifted, but then I carried on going up high into the roof and hovered there for a moment till I was taken down again. I was totally spooked! I still clearly remember it and feel I could swear that I did float up to the ceiling.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭bou


    King Mob wrote: »
    No, we are fairly confident that consciousness is contained in the brain and that there is no external component. Can you point to any neuroscientists who claim otherwise?
    And again, there is no plausible mechanism for how consciousness to survive the death of the brain or to exist without it or to transfer itself into a new brain. If you believe there is such a mechanism, please explain.

    However, if you are suggesting that because we don't know everything about consciousness right now, therefore there could be something new etc. then you are simply wrong.

    While we might not have the full story of how it works, we know that consciousness is formed by electrical and chemical interactions from the brain. These individual processes and the physics and chemistry behind them are well understood. We can state with confidence that electrical and chemical reactions need electrical conductors and paths and chemicals to happen. Without a physical thing there for them to happen, they don't happen.

    If you are going to insist that there is some non-physical aspect to consciousness, then I'm going to need to see some evidence before I can conclude that all the neuroscience we have today is completely wrong.

    I am no expert in any way. From what I have read, not all scientists are so confident that consciousness can be fully accounted for by neural processes of the brain. Or rather, the science is not yet very clear. See example here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurophilosophy discussing interpretation of neural imaging.

    In the field of AI, it is not yet known if current or near term technology can produce something like awareness/consciousness as we experience it in humans.

    You say I need proof for my viewpoint. I say you don't have proof for you viewpoint.

    I should point out that the scientific method, in it's best form, is open to possibilities and is able to dream of things unseen before. For example, the world as described by physics is weird and getting weirder as we proceed.

    I wish I had a PhD degree in about 5 disciplines: AI, neurology, philosophy, physics, psychology, and was able to keep abreast of developments across all fields and had the leisure to theories and discuss.

    I also wish I stopped participating in distractions such as this forum and instead got on with practicing the dharma.

    Alas, my humdrum life has intervened. And my propensity for distractions.

    I wish I was asleep.
    Utter **** I'm afraid. ...
    I might come back to this eloquent point another day but to say in short that you haven't followed what I was saying and instead liberally applied your own interpretation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    bou wrote: »
    I am no expert in any way. From what I have read, not all scientists are so confident that consciousness can be fully accounted for by neural processes of the brain. Or rather, the science is not yet very clear.
    Cool. Can you point to any current research in neurology that relies on the idea that the consciousness is wholly or partly external to the brain (or body)? Anything published in a decent journal will do.
    bou wrote: »
    You say I need proof for my viewpoint. I say you don't have proof for you viewpoint.
    No, this is not how it works. You are making the same mistake as JC.
    You are claiming that there is an afterlife. You cannot provide any actual evidence for such a thing.
    I am not claiming anything, I'm just rejecting assertions that are made without evidence or support or sense.
    bou wrote: »
    I should point out that the scientific method, in it's best form, is open to possibilities and is able to dream of things unseen before. For example, the world as described by physics is weird and getting weirder as we proceed.
    Lots of things are possible, we can discover new things all the time. But that doesn't mean that all things that are possible are then also true.

    Again, there is nothing observed that indicates an afterlife. There is no physical indication that it exists or happens. There is no sensible proposed model by which it can work.
    If religion didn't exist and invent the idea of an afterlife, why would anyone think that one exists?

    Let's try another angle:

    What is something you don't believe in? Do you believe in fairies or dragons or Bigfoot?
    Why do you not believe in it?
    bou wrote: »
    I also wish I stopped participating in distractions such as this forum and instead got on with practicing the dharma.

    Alas, my humdrum life has intervened. And my propensity for distractions.

    I wish I was asleep.

    I might come back to this eloquent point another day but to say in short that you haven't followed what I was saying and instead liberally applied your own interpretation.
    You do seem to write a lot about how you don't want to answer questions or respond to points...


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,320 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    looksee wrote: »
    I had my turn as the victim and I felt myself being lifted, but then I carried on going up high into the roof and hovered there for a moment till I was taken down again. I was totally spooked! I still clearly remember it and feel I could swear that I did float up to the ceiling.

    There is a similar out of body style experience you can stimulate in yourself with similar ease. The trick is to get some kind of artificial hand, something that looks like a hand as much as possible. Off a manequinn or just a stuffed glove or something similar.

    Place it near your real hand but obscure your view of your real hand somehow. Then get another person to stroke both hands with some kind of identical soft implements. Stare at your fake hand while this is happening.

    Fast strokes work for some people, slow for others (oo-er), so have them vary it but be consistent for some time with each speed.

    Eventually your brain should "switch" and you should become absolutely convinced that the sensations you are feeling are coming from the fake hand.

    Actually here is the same experiment being done on QI.....

    But if you get good at it you can do it with fake hands that are on the opposite side of the room to you, which gets really freaky. Or with other parts of the body, like someone elses Back or forehead or something on the other side of the room.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Somebody has to!

    I'll get my coat.


  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭bou


    King Mob wrote: »
    Cool. Can you point to any current research in neurology that relies on the idea that the consciousness is wholly or partly external to the brain (or body)? Anything published in a decent journal will do.

    No, this is not how it works. You are making the same mistake as JC.
    You are claiming that there is an afterlife. You cannot provide any actual evidence for such a thing.
    I am not claiming anything, I'm just rejecting assertions that are made without evidence or support or sense.
    I'm not actually asking you to accept anything about reincarnation. And particularly so in the last few posts. I'm merely asking you to examine more closely the assertion that all aspects of consciousness can be explained by the workings of neurons as currently understood. You have stated before with certainty that this is the case. I was pointing out that it is unscientific to jump the gun on making these assertions. The jury is still out.
    If you wish to be scientific, be fully scientific. Don't accept things without thorough investigation. Don't reject things without thorough investigation. At any time, science provides models of reality. The models are not reality itself so leave a little room for possibility. Who knows what the next advances will be? There is also fashion in science. So opinions can vary as to the ultimate philosophical understanding of things.

    Lots of things are possible, we can discover new things all the time. But that doesn't mean that all things that are possible are then also true.

    Again, there is nothing observed that indicates an afterlife. There is no physical indication that it exists or happens. There is no sensible proposed model by which it can work.
    If religion didn't exist and invent the idea of an afterlife, why would anyone think that one exists?

    Again, the last things I was talking about were assumptions about science rather than about airy-fairy buddhist notions.
    As to those notions, I take them from what I see as good sources. But also, I have been investigating them, as recommended by those same sources. My investigations will conclude some time between now and the next 30 to 50 years, most likely when I die. To date, I have made some progress but have been poor at applying myself to thorough investigation. I have found the efficacy of buddhist views and practices in my life and look forward to delving deeper.

    Let's try another angle:
    What is something you don't believe in? Do you believe in fairies or dragons or Bigfoot?
    Why do you not believe in it?
    No, I don't believe in random stuff. I follow the teachings of the Buddha and of the many masters who have investigated the nature of being throughout their lives. Many of these masters have spent 30, 50 or more years learning from their teachers and often have spent 20 or 30 years in retreat, practicing mediation and contemplation. They follow lineages of teachings past down from master to student with extreme care. I do feel that these are worthy of some small degree of consideration.
    Just as scientists are dedicated to the careful execution of their craft, these people have dedicated themselves to studying mind, perception and experience, albeit from a first person perspective.
    You do seem to write a lot about how you don't want to answer questions or respond to points...
    Not sure I said anything like that. I don't actually have much time available to respond thoughtfully. That is my circumstance. I don't like firing off replies without some care and will gladly forgo replies when I don't have time to make a reasonable attempt. Yes, this is not in keeping with modern communication.

    I may not get back again for a few days, or a week, or two.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,363 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato
    Golgafrinchan 'B' Ark


    bou wrote: »
    Just as scientists are dedicated to the careful execution of their craft, these people have dedicated themselves to studying mind, perception and experience, albeit from a first person perspective.

    People study RC theology in great depth for decades too, doesn't make any of it more likely to have the slightest grain of truth in it.

    The difference between science and any other method of 'finding out stuff' is the scientific method - an incremental, self-correcting, method of amassing actual, verifiable, testable knowledge. Yes scientists make hypotheses but the aim is to make testable hypotheses and then test them (and have others test them) and prove them correct. Einstein's theories of relativity were regarded by quite a lot of physicists as clever maths but rather fanciful at first, until experiments and observations proved them correct. Similarly with Maxwell's equations, the Higgs boson, gravitational waves, black holes, etc.

    Whereas religions make hypotheses which are either tested and found lacking, or in the case of the more successful ones, have refined (or, evolved, if you prefer) their hypotheses so as to make them effectively untestable. e.g. RCC's claim that consecrated hosts are 'body and blood of Jesus Christ' in essence despite any test yet devised showing them to be physically and chemically just a wafer.

    Here's what you could have won.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    bou wrote: »
    You have stated before with certainty that this is the case. I was pointing out that it is unscientific to jump the gun on making these assertions. The jury is still out.
    I didn't say certainty, I said "with confidence".
    Again, all of the research going on today focuses on the mind as if it is solely the product of the physical brain. There is nothing about the brain that indicates that there is something non-physical about the mind.

    Hand-waving about not knowing everything does not really change this. It could be that everything about neuroscience could be completely wrong tomorrow.
    But do you think that's likely?
    bou wrote: »
    No, I don't believe in random stuff.
    The reason I need to clarify is that I have asked this question before and the person replied that they did genuinely believe in fairies.

    But it's clear you don't. I asking you to explain why, as I think that the reason is pretty much the same as for why I don't believe in your afterlife.
    bou wrote: »
    I follow the teachings of the Buddha and of the many masters who have investigated the nature of being throughout their lives. Many of these masters have spent 30, 50 or more years learning from their teachers and often have spent 20 or 30 years in retreat, practicing mediation and contemplation. They follow lineages of teachings past down from master to student with extreme care. I do feel that these are worthy of some small degree of consideration.
    Why?
    There are hundreds of religions with their own dedicated wisemen. Do you not give them consideration? Why do you think they are all wrong where your wise men are right?
    There are people who throw their lives into researching seriously things like the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot, fairies, psychic powers, ghosts, UFOs...
    Does their years of work suddenly make them more correct?

    Are you saying that all of your masters cannot possibly be wrong, but we should not take neuroscience seriously because it can be upended at anytime?

    Arguments from authority and antiquity don't hold much sway here.
    bou wrote: »
    Not sure I said anything like that. I don't actually have much time available to respond thoughtfully. That is my circumstance. I don't like firing off replies without some care and will gladly forgo replies when I don't have time to make a reasonable attempt. Yes, this is not in keeping with modern communication.

    I may not get back again for a few days, or a week, or two.
    Again, you are posting a lot of waffle without actually addressing much. Maybe if you cut down on explain how knowledge isn't absolute and just focus on points then maybe you'd have more time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Except we do investigate it all the time. Sam Parnia for example.... someone HEAVILY biased TOWARDS finding evidence of an after life, has very much investigated the claim that people, "even blind people" can see the room they are in during NDE.

    And he came back with NOTHING to support it.
    Not true ... Dr Parnia carried out a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria. The study was sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK.

    Summary:-
    "Results of the study have been published in the journal Resuscitation and are now available online. The study concludes:
    The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences.
    In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events.
    A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.
    Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. Future studies should focus on cardiac arrest, which is biologically synonymous with death, rather than ill-defined medical states sometimes referred to as ‘near-death’.
    The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.

    Quote:-
    "One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest. Dr Parnia concluded: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.

    “Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence (2 per cent) of explicit recall of visual awareness or so called OBE’s), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area. Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”

    http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2014/10/07-worlds-largest-near-death-experiences-study.page


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 20,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭Brian?


    J C wrote: »
    Not true ... Dr Parnia carried out a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria. The study was sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK.

    Summary:-
    "Results of the study have been published in the journal Resuscitation and are now available online. The study concludes:
    The themes relating to the experience of death appear far broader than what has been understood so far, or what has been described as so called near-death experiences.
    In some cases of cardiac arrest, memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences may correspond with actual events.
    A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.
    Widely used yet scientifically imprecise terms such as near-death and out-of-body experiences may not be sufficient to describe the actual experience of death. Future studies should focus on cardiac arrest, which is biologically synonymous with death, rather than ill-defined medical states sometimes referred to as ‘near-death’.
    The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.

    Quote:-
    "One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest. Dr Parnia concluded: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.

    “Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence (2 per cent) of explicit recall of visual awareness or so called OBE’s), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area. Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”

    http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2014/10/07-worlds-largest-near-death-experiences-study.page

    The brain is still active for minutes, not 20-30 seconds after the heart stops. I have posted that twice now with zero response.

    they/them/theirs


    And so on, and so on …. - Slavoj Žižek




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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    Future studies should focus on cardiac arrest, which is biologically synonymous with death, rather than ill-defined medical states sometimes referred to as ‘near-death’.
    The recalled experience surrounding death merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.
    I thought you were arguing that NDEs only occur after brain death?


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