What happens to us when we die?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.

Post Number:#46  Postby Mauds » May 1st, 2010, 10:09 pm

Ideally, nothing. That we can perceive at least. Maybe our unconscious returns to the source, whatever that is. All I know, is if something does happen, I'm in for a surprise.
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Post Number:#47  Postby Hobo » June 18th, 2010, 11:03 am

ignoranceizbliss wrote:Actually you can talk to the dead.


Why, of course you can talk to the dead! But they just won't respond to you. How could they...? They're are dead. Just like you can talk to a wooden chair...but "it" won't respond. :wink:
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Post Number:#48  Postby Meleagar » June 18th, 2010, 11:19 am

Hobo wrote:
ignoranceizbliss wrote:Actually you can talk to the dead.


Why, of course you can talk to the dead! But they just won't respond to you. How could they...? They're are dead. Just like you can talk to a wooden chair...but "it" won't respond. :wink:


Scientific research has demonstrated for 150 years that we can talk to the dead.
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Post Number:#49  Postby Yahadreas » June 18th, 2010, 12:13 pm

Meleagar wrote:Scientific research has demonstrated for 150 years that we can talk to the dead.


I'm pretty certain that reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks.
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Post Number:#50  Postby Meleagar » June 18th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Yahadreas wrote:
Meleagar wrote:Scientific research has demonstrated for 150 years that we can talk to the dead.


I'm pretty certain that reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks.


Please support that assertion by reference to any scientific research about the subject.
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Post Number:#51  Postby Yahadreas » June 18th, 2010, 12:47 pm

Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. ISBN 0-309-07465-7.

Moulton ST, Kosslyn SM (January 2008). "Using neuroimaging to resolve the psi debate". Journal of cognitive neuroscience 20 (1): 182–92. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20.1.182. PMID 18095790.

Cordón, Luis A. (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32457-3.

Hansen, George P.; Utts, Jessica; Markwick, Betty (1992-06). "Critique Of The Pear Remote-viewing Experiments". Journal of Parapsychology 56 (2): 97–113.

Carroll, Robert Todd (2005). "psi assumption". Skepdic(dot)com. The Skeptics Dictionary.
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Post Number:#52  Postby Meleagar » June 21st, 2010, 5:44 pm

Okay, let's try again.

Please support those references with quotes from the material (and document the pages) that support your above claim so I can have reasonable grounds for thinking that any effort I expend to research your citations will be time well-spent and not a wild goose chase or going down a rabbit hole.

The common means of supporting one's claim is to not only provide the citation, but a referenced quote that supports one's assertion (and links to the material if available on the internet).

Or, is it safe to say that you went to a "parapsychology" wiki site, scrolled down to the end and copied and pasted a few of their citations with no real knowledge of what those sources actually said, seeing as the last one doesn't appear to be more than an opinion column at a skeptic site, and none of them seem to address mediumship whatsoever?

I ask because I ran a google search on those citations, and they are all present at 3 wiki sites, each reference worded in exactly the same way they are in your post.

Thanks.

[Edit 6-21-10:] Hello? Yahadreas? Care to provide what I asked for here?
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Post Number:#53  Postby Yahadreas » June 22nd, 2010, 7:06 am

Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. ISBN 0-309-07465-7

books(dot)nap(dot)edu/openbook.php?record_id=1025&page=171

"Nothing approaching a scientific literature supports the claims for psychometric weaponry, psychic metal bending, out-of-body experiences, and other potential applications supported by many proponents."

(Not focused on mediumship specifically but addresses the issue of psychic powers in general).

------------

Moulton ST, Kosslyn SM (January 2008). "Using neuroimaging to resolve the psi debate". Journal of cognitive neuroscience 20 (1): 182–92. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20.1.182. PMID 18095790.

www(dot)ncbi(dot)nlm(dot)nih(dot)gov/pubmed/18095790

"Abstract Parapsychology is the scientific investigation of apparently paranormal mental phenomena (such as telepathy, i.e., "mind reading"), also known as psi. Despite widespread public belief in such phenomena and over 75 years of experimentation, there is no compelling evidence that psi exists. In the present study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in an effort to document the existence of psi. If psi exists, it occurs in the brain, and hence, assessing the brain directly should be more sensitive than using indirect behavioral methods (as have been used previously). To increase sensitivity, this experiment was designed to produce positive results if telepathy, clairvoyance (i.e., direct sensing of remote events), or precognition (i.e., knowing future events) exist. Moreover, the study included biologically or emotionally related participants (e.g., twins) and emotional stimuli in an effort to maximize experimental conditions that are purportedly conducive to psi. In spite of these characteristics of the study, psi stimuli and non-psi stimuli evoked indistinguishable neuronal responses-although differences in stimulus arousal values of the same stimuli had the expected effects on patterns of brain activation. These findings are the strongest evidence yet obtained against the existence of paranormal mental phenomena."

------------

Cordón, Luis A. (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32457-3.

books(dot)google(dot)co(dot)uk/books?id=Uy1gmwcAgg4C&printsec=frontcover&dq =Popular+psychology:+an+encyclopedia&source=bl&ots=XAgUvkk9XZ&sig=2JKqWxcFe lEONmIaj-3-9l1b1V8&hl=en&ei=mJYgTM_zN5aI0wTx07XqDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=r esult&resnum=9&ved=0CDUQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

"The essential problem is that a large portion of the scientific community, including most research psychologists, regards parapsychology as a pseudoscience, due largely to its failure to move beyond null results in the way science usually does. Ordinarily, when experimental evidence fails repeatedly to support a hypothesis, that hypothesis is abandoned. Within parapsychology, however, more than a century of experimentation has failed even to conclusively demonstrate the mere existence of paranormal phenomenon, yet parapsychologists continue to pursue that elusive goal."

------------

Hansen, George P.; Utts, Jessica; Markwick, Betty (1992-06). "Critique Of The Pear Remote-viewing Experiments". Journal of Parapsychology 56 (2): 97–113

www(dot)tricksterbook(dot)com/ArticlesOnline/PEARCritique.htm

"The PEAR remote-viewing experiments depart from commonly accepted criteria for formal research in science. In fact, they are undoubtedly some of the poorest quality ESP experiments published in many years. The defects provide plausible alternative explanations. There do not appear to be any methods available for proper statistical evaluation of these experiments because of the way in which they were conducted."

(Critique of the PEAR remote-viewing experiments which supported the hypothesis of parapsychological phenomena).

------------

I cannot post (proper) links for a few more days, apparently.

Oh, and do you have any evidence to support your claim that "scientific research has demonstrated for 150 years that we can talk to the dead."?

After all, the burden of proof is on you. I don't have to prove a negative.
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Post Number:#54  Postby Meleagar » June 22nd, 2010, 8:14 am

Yahadreas wrote:Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. ISBN 0-309-07465-7

books(dot)nap(dot)edu/openbook.php?record_id=1025&page=171

"Nothing approaching a scientific literature supports the claims for psychometric weaponry, psychic metal bending, out-of-body experiences, and other potential applications supported by many proponents."

(Not focused on mediumship specifically but addresses the issue of psychic powers in general).


You have presented no quote here that indicates this book says anything about the subject at hand, much less that it in any way contributes to your claim that: ".... reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks."

------------

Moulton ST, Kosslyn SM (January 2008). "Using neuroimaging to resolve the psi debate". Journal of cognitive neuroscience 20 (1): 182–92. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20.1.182. PMID 18095790.

www(dot)ncbi(dot)nlm(dot)nih(dot)gov/pubmed/18095790

"Abstract Parapsychology is the scientific investigation of apparently paranormal mental phenomena (such as telepathy, i.e., "mind reading"), also known as psi. Despite widespread public belief in such phenomena and over 75 years of experimentation, there is no compelling evidence that psi exists. In the present study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in an effort to document the existence of psi. If psi exists, it occurs in the brain, and hence, assessing the brain directly should be more sensitive than using indirect behavioral methods (as have been used previously). To increase sensitivity, this experiment was designed to produce positive results if telepathy, clairvoyance (i.e., direct sensing of remote events), or precognition (i.e., knowing future events) exist. Moreover, the study included biologically or emotionally related participants (e.g., twins) and emotional stimuli in an effort to maximize experimental conditions that are purportedly conducive to psi. In spite of these characteristics of the study, psi stimuli and non-psi stimuli evoked indistinguishable neuronal responses-although differences in stimulus arousal values of the same stimuli had the expected effects on patterns of brain activation. These findings are the strongest evidence yet obtained against the existence of paranormal mental phenomena."


You have presented no quote here that indicates this book says anything about the subject at hand (mediumship), much less that it in any way contributes to your claim that: ".... reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks."

------------

Cordón, Luis A. (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32457-3.

books(dot)google(dot)co(dot)uk/books?id=Uy1gmwcAgg4C&printsec=frontcover&dq =Popular+psychology:+an+encyclopedia&source=bl&ots=XAgUvkk9XZ&sig=2JKqWxcFe lEONmIaj-3-9l1b1V8&hl=en&ei=mJYgTM_zN5aI0wTx07XqDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=r esult&resnum=9&ved=0CDUQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

The essential problem is that a large portion of the scientific community, including most research psychologists, regards parapsychology as a pseudoscience, due largely to its failure to move beyond null results in the way science usually does. Ordinarily, when experimental evidence fails repeatedly to support a hypothesis, that hypothesis is abandoned. Within parapsychology, however, more than a century of experimentation has failed even to conclusively demonstrate the mere existence of paranormal phenomenon, yet parapsychologists continue to pursue that elusive goal.


I ran a google search on your quotation above since even a corrected link from what you provided didn't take me anywhere but an error page; it appears to be lifted entirely from the same Wikipedia page article on parapsychology that you seem to have copied your links from, and not from the source you have ascribed it to.

As it is, it fails to provide any scientific research that has anything whatsoever to do with mediumship.

------------

Hansen, George P.; Utts, Jessica; Markwick, Betty (1992-06). "Critique Of The Pear Remote-viewing Experiments". Journal of Parapsychology 56 (2): 97–113

www(dot)tricksterbook(dot)com/ArticlesOnline/PEARCritique.htm

"The PEAR remote-viewing experiments depart from commonly accepted criteria for formal research in science. In fact, they are undoubtedly some of the poorest quality ESP experiments published in many years. The defects provide plausible alternative explanations. There do not appear to be any methods available for proper statistical evaluation of these experiments because of the way in which they were conducted."

(Critique of the PEAR remote-viewing experiments which supported the hypothesis of parapsychological phenomena).


This article is not about mediumship whatsoever, and entirely irrelevant in that it doesn't even gather and present evidence in contradiction to anything, it is just a critique about purported problems in research about psi events. It in no way supports your contention that: ".... reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks."

Oh, and do you have any evidence to support your claim that "scientific research has demonstrated for 150 years that we can talk to the dead."?


Certainly. I posted some of it here in this thread, and also linked there to a clearing house for references to other such evidence.

After all, the burden of proof is on you. I don't have to prove a negative.


We both made positive claims that we have to support; I made the above claim, and you made the following positive claim: "I'm pretty certain that reliable scientific research has demonstrated that mediumship is fraudulent and that mediums use a combination of cold reading and clever tricks."

However, when asked for references to support your positive claim, you failed to produce a single piece of evidence, quote, or reference that said anything about mediumship whatsoever.
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Post Number:#55  Postby Yahadreas » June 22nd, 2010, 9:10 am

If I were to make the positive claim that "unicorns(/dragons/fairies) do not exist", how am I supposed to prove this to be the case? All I can do is point to the lack of evidence which supports the claims that they exist. How can I prove that the American Government are not really alien lizards in disguise?. All I can do is point to the lack of evidence which supports the claims that they are.

It does not follow from me not being able to prove that unicorns do not exist that I ought to simply dispense with a belief either way; a lack of evidence in favour is sufficient evidence against. Not being able to find evidence to support the existence of unicorns is rational grounds for a belief in their non-existence. Simple as.

Although the articles I provided do not deal specifically with mediumship, they do deal with the extra-sensory faculties which mediums, psychics, clairvoyants, etc. claim to have. There has been no reliable evidence in favour of "psi", as it is called.

If it had been reliably shown that an afterlife exists -- that mediums can talk to departed souls -- then there would be as much challenge to mediumship as there is to evolution, i.e. very little. It is only because it is impossible to prove a negative that there is still believe in the afterlife (and Yahweh, and Allah, and witchcraft). If positives were proven, as is the case with gravity, the orbit of the Earth, and evolution, then a belief in mediumship (and the lizard-alien politicians) would be the common view.

The fact that Derren Brown, for example, can emulate mediums and psychics using cold reading and clever techniques shows that the same results achieved by claimed mediums and psychics can be explained by cold reading and clever techniques. It is much more reasonable to explain mediumship with reference to these tricks than to paranormal activity.

Only if they can achieve impossible results can we resort to impossible explanations.
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Post Number:#56  Postby Meleagar » June 22nd, 2010, 9:54 am

Yahadreas wrote:If I were to make the positive claim that "unicorns(/dragons/fairies) do not exist", how am I supposed to prove this to be the case? All I can do is point to the lack of evidence which supports the claims that they exist. How can I prove that the American Government are not really alien lizards in disguise?. All I can do is point to the lack of evidence which supports the claims that they are.


The obvious answer is to not make claims you cannot support.

It does not follow from me not being able to prove that unicorns do not exist that I ought to simply dispense with a belief either way; a lack of evidence in favour is sufficient evidence against.


No, it isn't. Lack of evidence for a thing is not evidence it doesn't exist.

Not being able to find evidence to support the existence of unicorns is rational grounds for a belief in their non-existence. Simple as.


No, it isn't. Lack of evidence that a thing exists is sufficient rational grounds for saying "I'm skeptical of their existence because I haven't seen any supportive evidence otherwise."

Mountain gorillas were once considered myths. So were giant squid. Lack of evidence for a thing is not rational grounds to assert that the thing doesn't exist; it is rational grounds to be neutrally skeptical.

Although the articles I provided do not deal specifically with mediumship, they do deal with the extra-sensory faculties which mediums, psychics, clairvoyants, etc. claim to have.


Hasty generalization. Nobody in this thread has claimed that mediumship and other psi claims are "the same thing"; you are equivocating the two because you apparently have zero support for your specific assertion about mediumship. The rational thing to do is to withdraw your assertion about mediumship and replace it with a supportable, better stated one that actually reflects your knowledge (or lack thereof) about the scientific evidence specifically regarding mediumship.

There has been no reliable evidence in favour of "psi", as it is called.


I doubt you have the capacity to support this categorical assertion. A better way to phrase it would be that you are not aware of any such evidence.

If it had been reliably shown that an afterlife exists -- that mediums can talk to departed souls -- then there would be as much challenge to mediumship as there is to evolution, i.e. very little.


You are now compounding categorical, unsupported assertion upon assertion, and you are making unsustainable broad claims using the vague term "evolution". Can you support your assertion that there is "very little" challenge to "evolution" - and please, further define what you mean by "evolution".

Otherwise, please stop making broad, categorical and vague assertions that you have no means to support.

It is only because it is impossible to prove a negative that there is still believe in the afterlife (and Yahweh, and Allah, and witchcraft). If positives were proven, as is the case with gravity, the orbit of the Earth, and evolution, then a belief in mediumship (and the lizard-alien politicians) would be the common view.


Appeal to popularity is not a rational argument; claiming that it is not the "common view" is irrelevent. Also, it is a erroneous to claim one cannot prove a negative; some negatives cannot be proven, but others certainly can. "There is no air in this cannister." is an example of a claim of non-existence that can be proven.

If one cannot reasonably support an assertion, whether positive or negative, they shouldn't make it, or once made and challenged, it should be withdrawn.

The fact that Derren Brown, for example, can emulate mediums and psychics using cold reading and clever techniques shows that the same results achieved by claimed mediums and psychics can be explained by cold reading and clever techniques.


Because someone can fraudulently emulate a thing doesn't mean that all such cases of the thing are fraudulent.

It is much more reasonable to explain mediumship with reference to these tricks than to paranormal activity.


Bald assertion. You have yet to demonstrate why it is "much more reasonable" except through appeals to popularity and a hasty generalization via an equivocation to psi phenomena in general.

Only if they can achieve impossible results can we resort to impossible explanations.


I don't even know what to make of this statement. You assume that psi is an "impossible explanation", which clearly reveals your a priori bias, then demand an "impossible result", which by definition is self-contradictory; if it occurs, then obviously it wasn't impossible, and so doesn't meet your criteria.
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Post Number:#57  Postby Aleph0 » June 22nd, 2010, 1:47 pm

Our mind vanishes and our body decays!
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Post Number:#58  Postby Interventizio » June 22nd, 2010, 2:35 pm

When I die, I would like to be reborn and have another chance to live the same life I lived. I would make none of the mistakes I made and I would know that I wouldn't be given another chance (it would be asking to much, really), therefore I won't let any of the occasions that I had, escape.
Of course, when I say I would like to live the same life, I mean all the persons I cared for would have to be there with me once again, the others be damned!
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Post Number:#59  Postby Yahadreas » June 23rd, 2010, 4:55 am

Meleagar, your arguments are good. I withdraw my assertion.
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Post Number:#60  Postby Abiathar » July 4th, 2010, 11:02 pm

What is consciousness? Physiology does not equate into the electrical impulses that create thought, though it does limit and constrain it along certain paths. Therefore, one can ascertain that Consciousness is infact those electrical impulses themselves. We see this by mental retardation, wherein a malformed portion of the physical brain limits the function of the consciousness, however does not eliminate any portion of said consciousness.

Thus, if we have any trust in Einstein or Newton, Electricity is an energy state, thereby implying that it is energy... in the most rudimentary of terms. With this we can assume the paradigm of the Conservation of Energy, wherein no energy may be removed or added to the universal system. Thereby the 'energy' that makes consciousness, the impulses if you will, are never removed from the system. This being said, the energy must move -somewhere-, as with Einstein's concept that energy never ceases in motion. Now, we spend our entire lives under the physical constraints of the human brain. This forms the energy into a particular state of being that, as seen with any form of electromagnetism or radioactivity, energy in an incumbent state retains that state long after its physical component is gone. For reference, see Chernobyl.

This tells us that the incumbent state of the electricity within the human brain will retain an... echo... of its physical constraints, even after said constraints are unbound, at least for a period before decaying into entropy. Being as the energy is the same in all human beings, we can assume that a properly tuned mind can receive, and send, this energy through its own neurological network... I.E. a Medium. Granted, most mediums are fictitious, but this does not negate the potentiality, and in fact high probability, of the existence of them.

After that, whether our energy degrades into entropy, is captured by the magnetic field and inserted into a newly developing human mind (A fetus activates electrically in the same number of days the Hindu and Buddhist believe that it takes to re-incarnate, for example), or is merely jettisoned into space by the highly charged solar wind, or the energy changes states completely, into a level of existence that we cannot see from our subjective viewpoint (I.E. Heaven, Hell, etc). Who knows?
"I aspire to say in ten sentences what one would say in a novel... and would not say" ~Nietzsche
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