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Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Count Lucanor
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
Count, the divided replies aren't getting us anywhere. I am quite aware that the "lights out" hypothesis appears most likely based on what is fairly solidly known at present. However, I am mindful that our progress can be summarised in just a few words - "It's not that simple". From Copernicus to Einstein to Plank and Heisenberg. It's to be expected that our models would oversimplify; that's what a model is - a simplification that helps add clarity.
I know nothing is simple and models are approximations, still useful and necessary. But there are models that work better than others and some don't even work. To this last category belong the idealist accounts of reality (dualism and idealistic monism) that are behind NDE narratives.
Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
Just to go on record, I don't care if new agers or theists might misconstrue what I say, or feel justified with the application of pseudoscience. That's your battle, not mine.
I'm battling mythical thinking and pseudoscience. If you jump to say: "hey, leave those guys alone" it will be your own choice to feel alluded or not, I'll just be battling mythical thinking and pseudoscience.
Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
As for humans in the universe. Humans and their stuff are not just byproducts IMO but the pointy end (or close to it) of the universe's organisational development thus far. This is not a lofty claim. If Earth was the first planet to develop to this extent then sixty million years ago the dinosaurs were the most organised entities.
That's a legitimate opinion, but also just "a way of seeing things", which cannot be neither wrong or right. Not even close to "we are stardust".
Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
I think NDEs should be taken seriously because those people came a helluva lot closer to death than we have done (touch wood). Indeed, the people reporting on these are not rotting carcasses but that's as close as people have come to death and returned.
Don't get me wrong, I never said people themselves that have reported NDE experiences are to be treated with disdain, just as I don't think people having hallucinatory experiences are not to be taken seriously. It is the objective content of their stories that need to be taken cautiously in terms of their realism. When someone says: "a voice inside my mind told me to go out and shoot random people", I don't find reasonable, even for just the sake of philosophy, to go like: "hmm...we should consider the chance that a voice from nowhere really talked to this person inside their head". You know, because our knowledge and understanding is so limited.
Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
Pre-internet, if you travel to the coast of a place you will find out a lot more about that place than you would imagining what it's like at home. Same principle.
But of course, ND experiencers have gone to no place and their subjective experiences stay with them until they put it out as an account of a real event. In the case of NDEs, we're not even talking about inland and coast, but about a ghostly island not found in any map.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 19th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 6:58 am
Count Lucanor wrote:
You're approach is like that of someone who wanted to know a famous university, so he went to the place and visited one by one every building, until he reached the last one and asked the tour guide: they still haven't showed me the university. Surely, they still haven't showed you consciousness.
A university is as you say more than a building. A university is an invisible myth.
Well...I know universities firsthand, I went to one. They are not invisible myths and their objective concrete existence is easy demonstrable.
Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 6:58 am
Consciousness on the other hand is not an invisible myth. Consciousness is not a socially constructed story.
Actually, not that much different, in terms of concrete existence, as an university.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Belindi » January 19th, 2019, 7:21 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
Well...I know universities firsthand, I went to one. They are not invisible myths and their objective concrete existence is easy demonstrable.
I guess that neither social anthropology nor philosophy were what you graduated in. If you had done so you would know that all social institutions are myths that we live by.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 19th, 2019, 7:58 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
I know nothing is simple and models are approximations, still useful and necessary. But there are models that work better than others and some don't even work. To this last category belong the idealist accounts of reality (dualism and idealistic monism) that are behind NDE narratives.

I'm battling mythical thinking and pseudoscience. If you jump to say: "hey, leave those guys alone" it will be your own choice to feel alluded or not, I'll just be battling mythical thinking and pseudoscience.
Rubbish. NDE narratives are just reports. Can't people simply report what happened and how it felt while undergoing the weirdest and scariest thing a person can experience without being thought to be naive, deluded or dodgy? "Mythical thinking" only comes into play when people say they say Jesus and the like. There is no reason at all to doubt most accounts. That they are subjective is not important - when you are about to die, what's happening "out there" matters not even a bit. It's not as though you're going to worry about being killed ...
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
Greta wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 1:57 am
As for humans in the universe. Humans and their stuff are not just byproducts IMO but the pointy end (or close to it) of the universe's organisational development thus far. This is not a lofty claim. If Earth was the first planet to develop to this extent then sixty million years ago the dinosaurs were the most organised entities.
That's a legitimate opinion, but also just "a way of seeing things", which cannot be neither wrong or right. Not even close to "we are stardust".
Can't you see that the above perspective is exactly in line with "we are stardust"? I'm just talking about what the most densely complex aggregations of stardust are doing. I personally like to think of us as fast rocks :lol:
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
Don't get me wrong, I never said people themselves that have reported NDE experiences are to be treated with disdain, just as I don't think people having hallucinatory experiences are not to be taken seriously.
It's not a hallucination when you are about to die, can't you see? You are out of the game. Hallucinations are internal experiences only related to your practical reality by their disruptiveness. However, the "hallucinations" of NDEs are all you have when you are dying. It's not as though you wake up the next day and breathe a sigh of relief that it was a bad dream.

At that point the subjective is your total reality. The only thing that can change it would be if someone injected you with certain drugs or crushed your head with an anvil, stopping the brain's final rundown. Now the physical world is the hallucination, where almost nothing makes a difference. The only world you have then is the subjective, the dream world.

As mentioned earlier, there will be time dilation that becomes more pronounced as the brain shuts down bit by bit. Time dilation has been often reported in dreams and NDEs. While the event correlation between dreams and objective reality is 1:1, the compression is achieved by eliminating the unimportant (hence such experiences will seldom include, say, cleaning one's toenails or driving for an hour). Thus it's possible for a person to subjectively experience hours, days, weeks, months, whatever of "afterlife" within the last few minutes of brain oxygen.

Besides that, there are also possibilities regarding our perspective of the passage of time or things we have not even imagined.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 19th, 2019, 8:06 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 7:21 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
Well...I know universities firsthand, I went to one. They are not invisible myths and their objective concrete existence is easy demonstrable.
I guess that neither social anthropology nor philosophy were what you graduated in. If you had done so you would know that all social institutions are myths that we live by.
Please, don't make me laugh. Myths are social constructs, indeed, but not all social constructs are myths. And myth refers to narratives that explain natural and social phenomena, and are deemed as false from our modern perspective. That social institutions are culturally constructed doesn't mean they are false.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Belindi » January 19th, 2019, 8:27 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 8:06 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 7:21 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:



I guess that neither social anthropology nor philosophy were what you graduated in. If you had done so you would know that all social institutions are myths that we live by.
Please, don't make me laugh. Myths are social constructs, indeed, but not all social constructs are myths. And myth refers to narratives that explain natural and social phenomena, and are deemed as false from our modern perspective. That social institutions are culturally constructed doesn't mean they are false.
A myth is a fiction but it's not false. Some fictions are very important to social life. For instance the National Health Service is a fictional entity and is very real in the sense that it is important to very many people even although the National Health Service is not an entity in space time and cannot be measured.
'Consciousness' is a state of a brain which is an entity in space time and can be measured.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 19th, 2019, 10:31 pm

Greta wrote:Rubbish. NDE narratives are just reports.
No, that's true rubbish. NDE narratives comprise the whole package of reports, studies, books, lectures, etc., that evolve around said experiences, trying to make sense of it. It is not only the narrative of patients, but of other people that elaborates on the subject and contribute to give it a particular, identifiable ideological structure. I have pointed at several organizations that publicly promote such culture and give us the typical social representations of NDE. Of course, you will ignore them and say that you don't care a bit what they think or say, which is your choice, but if no organization represents your views about NDEs, it is absurd that you argue in the name of subjects that most likely feel well represented in them, and at the same time keep a distance from them.
Greta wrote:Can't people simply report what happened and how it felt while undergoing the weirdest and scariest thing a person can experience without being thought to be naive, deluded or dodgy? "Mythical thinking" only comes into play when people say they say Jesus and the like.
That mythical thinking is exactly what you find. Those are the most common cases profiled in the websites of the aforementioned organizations, which invariably talk about "spiritual beings in the afterlife".
Greta wrote:There is no reason at all to doubt most accounts.
Much easier to doubt are scientific certainties, right? Because we just know so little.
Greta wrote:That they are subjective is not important - when you are about to die, what's happening "out there" matters not even a bit. It's not as though you're going to worry about being killed ...
What subjectively matters to the patient is their own business. What matters to us, the rest of people in terms of the objective reality of the events, is a different issue, which is what we are discussing.
Greta wrote:Can't you see that the above perspective is exactly in line with "we are stardust"? I'm just talking about what the most densely complex aggregations of stardust are doing. I personally like to think of us as fast rocks :lol:
Sorry, I can't see it, because it is completely different. Being stardust is both a beautiful metaphor and a concrete physical reality of our contingent fate, but your statement about the "universe's organisational development" is quite a stretch of imagination infused with teleological explanations.
Greta wrote:It's not a hallucination when you are about to die, can't you see? You are out of the game. Hallucinations are internal experiences only related to your practical reality by their disruptiveness. However, the "hallucinations" of NDEs are all you have when you are dying. It's not as though you wake up the next day and breathe a sigh of relief that it was a bad dream.
Greta wrote:At that point the subjective is your total reality... Now the physical world is the hallucination, where almost nothing makes a difference. The only world you have then is the subjective, the dream world.

The apparent disconnection of the subjects from their physical environments are not real, it's just the subjective perception of any state of non-awakeness. To say that the subjective experience of the patient is all there is simply false. We are not talking about what they think there is, but what there really is. They still have their bodies and it is their bodies in agony generating subjective experiences.
Greta wrote:As mentioned earlier, there will be time dilation that becomes more pronounced as the brain shuts down bit by bit. Time dilation has been often reported in dreams and NDEs. While the event correlation between dreams and objective reality is 1:1, the compression is achieved by eliminating the unimportant (hence such experiences will seldom include, say, cleaning one's toenails or driving for an hour). Thus it's possible for a person to subjectively experience hours, days, weeks, months, whatever of "afterlife" within the last few minutes of brain oxygen.
I doubt there's any reliable method of measuring "event correlation between dreams and objective reality", because there's simply no way of collecting objective "dream data", it's just the person's account. There's even no way to know that their recollection at the moment of telling the story has its origin and it's specifically tied to any measured brain activity.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 19th, 2019, 10:42 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 8:27 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 8:06 pm

Please, don't make me laugh. Myths are social constructs, indeed, but not all social constructs are myths. And myth refers to narratives that explain natural and social phenomena, and are deemed as false from our modern perspective. That social institutions are culturally constructed doesn't mean they are false.
A myth is a fiction but it's not false. Some fictions are very important to social life. For instance the National Health Service is a fictional entity and is very real in the sense that it is important to very many people even although the National Health Service is not an entity in space time and cannot be measured.
'Consciousness' is a state of a brain which is an entity in space time and can be measured.
You're completely wrong there. A fictional entity is one that simply doesn't exist, has no concrete manifestations, it's just a product of imagination. The NHS that you use as an example (I assume, from UK), has very concrete manifestations, it carries out actions and produces concrete measurable effects from these actions. More importantly, it cannot exist without its physical assets, human resources, and so on, therefore these concrete measurable "things" are an essential part of their nature of being. That's what makes it real, not that "it is important to very many people".

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 20th, 2019, 12:36 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 10:31 pm
Greta wrote:Rubbish. NDE narratives are just reports.
No, that's true rubbish. NDE narratives comprise the whole package of reports, studies, books, lectures, etc., that evolve around said experiences, trying to make sense of it.
As far as I can tell NDE narratives are the person's accounts of their experiences when they were, you know, near death. Dying people don't tend to have time to package up reports, studies, books and lectures with the last few minutes of brain oxygen. Take note.

Can't the poor buggers just go through the process until resuscitation and then tell people about it? Is that not allowed? Many have taken years to come forward with their stories because they were afraid of people with the kind of narrow attitude displayed by you in this thread, people who default to distrust rather than starting with curiosity and only distrusting when it's earned.

Physicists know that the laws of physics are most transparent at their extremes, which is why black holes and quanta are such important topics for them, helping to define the laws. By the same token, the nature of consciousness can be perhaps better understood by investigating the extremes, such as the "edge" where consciousness drops off.

I don't understand the determined lack of curiosity, as if even showing the slightest interest in people's experiences on the way out might open up opportunities for theists to think idealistic thoughts. "Get away please everyone! Nothing to see here!".

I'm more interested in the actual phenomenon than people's opinions about it. Please feel free to keep the political aspects to yourself.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Consul » January 20th, 2019, 12:49 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 10:42 pm
You're completely wrong there. A fictional entity is one that simply doesn't exist, has no concrete manifestations, it's just a product of imagination. The NHS that you use as an example (I assume, from UK), has very concrete manifestations, it carries out actions and produces concrete measurable effects from these actions. More importantly, it cannot exist without its physical assets, human resources, and so on, therefore these concrete measurable "things" are an essential part of their nature of being. That's what makes it real, not that "it is important to very many people".
There certainly is a difference between a fictional social institution such as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and a real one such as the London School of Economics and Political Science. Real social institutions or organizations involve conventions, but they are not fictions.
However:

"There are two general aspects to realism, illustrated by looking at realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties. First, there is a claim about existence. Tables, rocks, the moon, and so on, all exist, as do the following facts: the table's being square, the rock's being made of granite, and the moon's being spherical and yellow. The second aspect of realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties concerns independence.

In general, where the distinctive objects of a subject-matter are a, b, c, … , and the distinctive properties are F-ness, G-ness, H-ness and so on, realism about that subject matter will typically take the form of a claim like the following:

Generic Realism:
a, b, and c and so on exist, and the fact that they exist and have properties such as F-ness, G-ness, and H-ness is (apart from mundane empirical dependencies of the sort sometimes encountered in everyday life) independent of anyone's beliefs, linguistic practices, conceptual schemes, and so on.

Non-realism can take many forms, depending on whether or not it is the existence or independence dimension of realism that is questioned or rejected."


Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism/

Social institutions and organizations are not real in the sense that they exist and are "independent of anyone's beliefs, linguistic practices, conceptual schemes," since they are dependent on the mental states (propositional attitudes such as belief) and the mental and physical actions of persons. So to speak, social reality is both real and ideal. What we have here is an "ideal-realism" (which is still different from fictionalism): "any of various philosophical approaches or systems that combine aspects of idealism and realism" (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/defin ... al-realism)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Consul » January 20th, 2019, 1:09 am

As for out-of-body and near-death experiences, see Michael Marsh's thesis:

OUT-OF-BODY AND NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES: BRAIN-STATE PHENOMENA OR GLIMPSES OF IMMORTALITY? (PDF)

Abstract:

"What certainty is there for personal survival after death? Five key authors, critically analysed in this thesis, think that OB/ND experiences offer such assurances. Most OB/ND events follow severe clinical crises profoundly embarrassing cerebral function. At the nadir of brain function, invariably resulting in unconsciousness, authors aver that the escape of soul (Sabom), mind, or free consciousness (Moody, Ring, Grey, Fenwick), in providing glimpses of heaven, offers proof of immortality. I disagree.

The semantic content of early-phase ND experiences reveals dream-like bizarreness and illogicality, consistent with de-activation of critical cortical controls. Conversely, late-phase experiences, tinged with 'moral' compulsions about earthly responsibilities, herald the progressive intrusion of conscious-awareness into that subconscious mentation. These experiences, abruptly terminating as conscious-awareness erupts, are transient - as demonstrated by narrative word counts - indicating origins from reawakening, not moribund, brains. My argument is underpinned by these latter crucial observations. Pain, intruding into ND phenomenology, is another occurrence hardly consistent with an escape of mind or 'free consciousness' into the hereafter.

"Tunnel" phenomenology, a rapid movement from darkness into heavenly brightness, involves a retrospective synthesis of vestibular-generated rotation/accelerations, and a progressively enlarging and engulfing light, signalling re-establishment of an effective circulation to associative visual centres. The content of ND experiences, as with dreams, involves the temporo-parietal cortex.

OB experiences derive from central vestibular activity (superior & inferior parietal lobules) in dormant, recumbent patients. Allied aberrations of allocentric space create bodily reduplications and sensed invisible presences. Thus, OB do not warrant "mystical" interpretations.

The spiritual overtones accorded OB/ND experiences by authors are inconsistent with classical (Judaeo-Christian) accounts of divine disclosure. The eschatology adumbrated in published texts implies immortality, and seriously fails to embrace a preferred resurrectional eschatology as professed credally. I therefore conclude that OB/ND phenomenology, rather than offering alleged glimpses of eternity, reflects living, not dead, brains re-awakening to full conscious-awareness from antecedent metabolic insults."


Also see this video: https://vimeo.com/73726716
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Consul » January 20th, 2019, 1:32 am

"Mike Marsh (Chapter 15) critically reviews assertions that NDE/OBE offer proof of extra-corporeal existence when the brain is supposedly “dead” or “clinically dead.” Marsh argues that studies have failed to produce corroborative empirical evidence for these assertions and that it is unclear how the memory required for recall could be set down with a properly dead brain at that critical time-point. He suggests that NDE/OBE occur as subjects are regaining full conscious-awareness and are analogous to hypnopompic dream awakenings. He points out that most recollections are intensely geo-physical, anthropomorphic, banal, and illogical: they provide nothing revelatory about life without a brain, or importantly, about other supposed cosmic contexts. There is also a marked chasm, Marsh argues, dividing NDE and the associated conceptualizations of “heaven” from true, classical spiritual encounters with the divine: the former are inconsistent with dogmatic (Christian) understandings of the afterlife and are decidedly not excursions of “souls” to some “heavenly” abode. Since prevalence rates are extremely low (< 1% globally), Marsh suggests that those undergoing NDE/OBE may have predisposed brains, genetically, structurally, or resulting from previous psychological stress."

(Loose, Jonathan J., Angus J. L. Menuge, and J. P. Moreland. "Introduction: Substance Dualism and Its Physicalist Rivals." In The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, edited by Jonathan J. Loose, Angus J. L. Menuge, and J. P. Moreland, 1-21. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018. p. 15)

Note that Marsh is a theist himself:

"In introducing this chapter, I declared myself a monist in indicating my belief that human beings are integrated “psychophysical units.” Sustaining a stroke or vascular dementia informs us of the catastrophic cognitive and motor outcomes. The brain is the central coordinator of that psychophysical unit, while the “soul” could be envisaged as the emergent personality – encompassing body, developed mind, demeanor, vitality, extraversion or introversion, memory, planning for the future, conscientiousness, and so on. We, ourselves, are souls (Jeeves 1994, 134). Religious believers would wish to add a propensity for sin and guilt (Brown 1998), an apprehension of the divine and tendency for behaving spiritually. Cottingham (2005, 3–8) defines spirituality in terms of behaviors filling the creative and meditative space beyond material satisfactions, concerned thus with action not theory, ways of living rather than doctrinal allegiance, and praxis rather than belief. It is beyond truism that any part of the brain may be involved in religious experience (Saver and Rabin 1997). There is no cerebrally localized holy shrine, shrouded from the day-to-day vulgar commerce of secular neurophysiology.

Antithetically, true death is final and, eschatologically, must be firmly grasped. There can be no residual glowing embers, or “soul” like a beautiful butterfly emerging fromthe dried-up shrunken chrysalis of a corpse (Fiddes 2000, 66). Fiddes envisages a cosmic incorporation into Christ’s body where, ultimately, we shall finally come to see and knowourselves. My own view is that we shall be incorporated within the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) through baptism. Baptism is here envisaged, within its cosmic and eschatological domains, as a “dying and rising with Christ”: a “re-birth” – “not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God” – and thus from “above”: an “adoption” anticipating ultimate union within the Godhead, in whom there is “perfect freedom.” Therefore we “rejoice that our names are forever enrolled into the heavens.” These and analogous quotations acquire meaning only in a metaphysical, rather than earthly, connotation (Marsh 2016b, 90– 97, 243– 249).

On these lines, it could never be convincingly argued that the recorded deposits of ND/OBE experience represent occasions on which, specifically, so-called “souls” leave the body on excursion to the “heavenly” realm, there to sample “divine presence.” Nor that this deposited archive affords cogent revelatory perspectives, hitherto unrevealed, concerning the life eternal. That is far more subtle a prospect than any ND/OBE report comes near to understanding or elucidating. I have been at pains to demonstrate the neurological underpinnings of much of the phenomenology undergone, believing it to represent reawakening phenomena during which extremely vivid illusory/hallucinatory material (hypnopompic) is conjured up by recovering brains – whatever the anterior physiologic insult. Critically, memory is necessary to facilitate later recall: and that can only occur during the wakening period but never when the brain is temporarily inactive due to preceding metabolic breakdown."


(Marsh, Michael N. "The Phenomenology of Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences: No Heavenly Excursion for 'Soul'." In The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, edited by Jonathan J. Loose, Angus J. L. Menuge, and J. P. Moreland, 247-266. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018. pp. 262-3)
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 20th, 2019, 3:01 am

What if existence has nothing to do with souls and spirits but is still not as we expect?

What if there are situations we cannot imagine? As I said earlier, I take the JBS Haldane quote seriously and I think it is only logical to be open to the possibility that there's phenomena and perspectives out there and in here that's not yet been anticipated.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Belindi » January 20th, 2019, 9:55 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 10:42 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 8:27 pm


A myth is a fiction but it's not false. Some fictions are very important to social life. For instance the National Health Service is a fictional entity and is very real in the sense that it is important to very many people even although the National Health Service is not an entity in space time and cannot be measured.
'Consciousness' is a state of a brain which is an entity in space time and can be measured.
You're completely wrong there. A fictional entity is one that simply doesn't exist, has no concrete manifestations, it's just a product of imagination. The NHS that you use as an example (I assume, from UK), has very concrete manifestations, it carries out actions and produces concrete measurable effects from these actions. More importantly, it cannot exist without its physical assets, human resources, and so on, therefore these concrete measurable "things" are an essential part of their nature of being. That's what makes it real, not that "it is important to very many people".
Fictional entities do often have concrete manifestations. When fictional entities result in large enough concrete manifestations they are called myths.

Please remember that when Aneurin Bevan planned the National Health Service it had yet no concrete manifestations and was purely an idea.
Similarly with a university, many people have not seen a university building and others have never worked as university teachers or students yet these unattached people have an idea of what a university is for. The concrete manifestations of an institution may change and do change (consider the Open University, and the centralisation of hospital buildings), but the myth may persist longer than the concrete institutions.

Consciousness is not a myth because it is a state of the concrete brain. Throughout this discussion we are using 'concrete' in the sense of measurable in time and space.

The frame of ontological reference is seldom used these days that would support either important myths or measurable anatomical entities surviving the deaths of people. That frame of reference is substance dualism.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 20th, 2019, 5:32 pm

Greta wrote:As far as I can tell NDE narratives are the person's accounts of their experiences when they were, you know, near death. Dying people don't tend to have time to package up reports, studies, books and lectures with the last few minutes of brain oxygen. Take note.
There you go, all of the sudden forgetting about holistic approaches, concerned only with atomistic events. As far as I am concerned, NDE narratives are all the NDE themes going around the stories of people claiming that they experienced some type of "spiritual passage" to an afterlife and returned. That includes the raw data of the stories themselves, of course, but also the sense that people make of them, the explanations, the stories of people who have handled such claims firsthand or secondhand, which are collected in studies, books, etc. Not even the most audacious researcher will go about studying NDE completely ignoring the theoretical framework, just plunging into the raw data without referential handles.
Greta wrote:Can't the poor buggers just go through the process until resuscitation and then tell people about it? Is that not allowed? Many have taken years to come forward with their stories because they were afraid of people with the kind of narrow attitude displayed by you in this thread, people who default to distrust rather than starting with curiosity and only distrusting when it's earned.
If I cared about people, if I respected their intelligence, if I valued their years spent in educational institutions, the hard work of their families to raise them well suited for dealing with the world, or their avid search for truth and making inquiries about the world, AND I experienced an extraordinary, out of this world event, the least I would expect is that I would encounter sane skepticism. That would speak about humbleness, instead of acting like a spoiled brat demanding that my nonsensical claims be gulped down by everyone else without even chewing, just because...well, it's about being "spiritual", a higher order of moral status that can get away with it.
Greta wrote:By the same token, the nature of consciousness can be perhaps better understood by investigating the extremes, such as the "edge" where consciousness drops off.

I don't understand the determined lack of curiosity, as if even showing the slightest interest in people's experiences on the way out might open up opportunities for theists to think idealistic thoughts. "Get away please everyone! Nothing to see here!".
For NDE fans, there's no edge of consciousness, but a doorstep, a passage. For them, as good old idealists, consciousness is immortal. From a naturalistic point of view, what happens when people die is of much interest, it should be researched with rigorous scientific methodology, I'm all for that. But when people shows up saying thing like these:

"...experiencer's consistently report weightlessness, ability to pass through physical objects, an ability to move quickly and effortlessly from place to place and inability to be seen or heard by other living people."

"...Often another non-earthly being is present. This other being being is often described as very compassionate and unconditionally loving."

"...the actions and feelings of living individuals encountered by the NDE experiencer, and the NDE experiencer themselves, are continuously known in great detail by spiritual beings in the afterlife. "

(excerpts from the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation web page)


Then we are not talking about investigating consciousness rigorously, but about advancing fables, the nonsensical woo of all times.
Greta wrote: I'm more interested in the actual phenomenon than people's opinions about it. Please feel free to keep the political aspects to yourself.
Your choice, but well then, you seem quite committed to politics: you're very much interested in MY opinion.

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