Post Number:#16 January 14th, 2010, 2:58 pm
Scott wrote:I do not see any empirical evidence that there is an afterlife. So I do not believe any such exists.
For comparison sake, I also do not believe in vampires, alien abductions or psychics.
Moreover, I see a lot of holes and absurdities in the idea of an afterlife as most believers explain it. I explained these problems in the form of questions in my thread, Individuality and the Body in a Supposed Afterlife.
There has been scientific, empirical evidence for the afterlife and psi phenomena for about 150 years, your personal dismissal notwithstanding. I will outline some of it below:
William Crooke's Research into mediumship., published in the Quarterly Journal of Science. Crookes was widely regarded as the greatest scientist of his time; his validation of spiritual mediumship (communicating with the dead) cause and uproar in the scientific community.
A couple of his contemporaries said of his and other such research:
SIR WILLIAM BARRETT, (1844-1925) – Professor of physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin for 37 years, “I’m absolutely convinced of the fact that those who once lived on earth can and do communicate with us. It is hardly possible to convey to the inexperienced an adequate idea of the strength and cumulative force of the evidence (for the afterlife).”
Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) – Co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution: " My position is that the phenomena of communicating with those who crossed over - in their entirety do not require further confirmation. They are proved quite as well as facts are proved in other sciences."
NDE research, published in the Lancet.
With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the thus far assumed, but never proven, concept that consciousness and memories are localised in the brain should be discussed. How could a clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?
Also, in cardiac arrest the EEG usually becomes flat in most cases within about 10 s from onset of syncope.29,30 Furthermore, blind people have described veridical perception during out-of-body experiences at the time of this xperience.31 NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation.
Another theory holds that NDE might be a changing state of consciousness (transcendence), in which identity, cognition, and emotion function independently from the unconscious body, but retain the possibility of non-sensory perception. Research should be concentrated on the effort to explain scientifically the occurrence and content of NDE. Research should be focused on certain specific elements of NDE, such as out-of-body experiences and other verifiable aspects. Finally, the theory and background of transcendence should be included as a part of an explanatory framework for these experiences.
Veritas Research Program http://veritas.arizona.edu/
Mediumship research conducted by the Universtity of Arizona, which produced publications such as:
Beischel J, Schwartz GE. Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing. 2007;3(1):23-27.
Schwartz GER, Russek LGS, Nelson LA, Barentsen C. Accuracy and replicability of anomalous after-death communication across highly skilled mediums. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 2001;65(1):1-25.
Schwartz GE (with Simon WL). The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death. New York: Pocket Books (division of Simon and Schuster); 2002.
Abstracts of the 40th Parapsychology Foundation International Conference“The Study of Mediumship: Interdisciplinary Perspectives”
The Scole Experiment http://www.thescoleexperiment.com/
The Windbridge Institute, which has ongoing mediumship research, with many publications including "ANOMALOUS INFORMATION RECEPTION BY RESEARCH MEDIUMS DEMONSTRATED USING A NOVEL TRIPLE-BLIND PROTOCOL."
Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena
Excerpt for "Implications and Applications"
PEAR's contribution to this expansion of the scientific worldview has been its accumulation of huge bodies of consciousness-correlated empirical evidence that the subjective/objective dichotomy of Cartesian philosophy is no longer entirely viable.
More comprehensive accommodation of these anomalies within a functional scientific framework will require the explicit inclusion of consciousness as an active agent in the establishment of physical reality, a generalization of the scientific paradigm demanding more courageous theoretical structures than are employed at present, guided by more extensive empirical data than are now available, acquired via more cooperative interdisciplinary collaborations than are currently practiced. It is our hope that by its proposition of a few possible conceptual models PEAR has established productive precedents for such representation of this formidable, but crucial, topical domain.
Our ability to acquire, or to generate tangible, measureable information independent of distance or time challenges the foundation of any reductionistic brain-based model of consciousness that may be invoked. The lack of notable correlations in the data with standard learning curves or other recognizable cognitive patterns, combined with the repeatable and distinct gender-related differences, suggest that these abilities may stem from a more fundamental source than heretofore suspected. Certainly, there is little doubt that integration of these changes in our understanding of ourselves can lead to a substantially superior human ethic, wherein the long-estranged siblings of science and spirit, of analysis and aesthetics, of intellect and intuition, and of many other subjective and objective aspects of human experience can be productively reunited.
There are many publications that PEAR produced during their research, including:
Physical Aspects of Psychic Phenomena (1988). Physics Bulletin, 39, pp. 235-236.
Evidence for Consciousness-Related Anomalies in Random Physical Systems (1989). Foundations of Physics, 19, No. 12, pp.1499-1514.*
Consciousness and Anomalous Physical Phenomena (1995). PEAR Technical Note 95004, May 1995 (32 pages).
Several million experimental trials investigating the ability of human operators to affect the output of various random physical devices have demonstrated small but statistically significant shifts of the distribution means that correlate with operator intention, exhibit repeatable idiosyncratic individual variations, and display consistent patterns of gender dependence, series position development, and internal distribution structure. These effects also appear to be statistically independent of distance and time. In a complementary program of remote perception studies, experimental protocols and analytical scoring methods have been developed to demonstrate and quantify information acquired by individuals about distant geographical locations without the use of normal sensory channels. A wave-mechanical approach to modeling consciousness/environment interactions, based on a metaphorical application of quantum concepts and formalisms, has proven useful in predicting and interpreting the empirical findings and in guiding the development of more incisive experiments.