Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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UniversalAlien
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Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by UniversalAlien »

There are many religions and occult traditions that postulate an afterlife - Defined here as the continuation of 'consciousness'
and self awareness after the biological self is deceased.

There is 'anecdotal evidence' to support this view, but as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable
doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.

What do you think :?:



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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:25 am ... as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.

What do you think :?:
I think that, if you want an afterlife "proven without a reasonable doubt", then you are doomed to failure. Sorry. Such concepts as this exist in the absence — the total absence — of evidence. Without evidence, science and logic have nothing to get their teeth into. No investigation allows for no analysis, and therefore no conclusions.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Meta Island »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:25 am There are many religions and occult traditions that postulate an afterlife - Defined here as the continuation of 'consciousness'
and self awareness after the biological self is deceased.

There is 'anecdotal evidence' to support this view, but as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable
doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.

What do you think :?:
I would say an afterlife suggests a Consciousness that is in some sense a material integrity. A physical definition of C that can be construed as a material integrity would provide an empirical basis for speculation that is perhaps more than anecdotal but less than conclusive.
“Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another.” - Juvenal
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Gee »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:25 am There are many religions and occult traditions that postulate an afterlife - Defined here as the continuation of 'consciousness'
and self awareness after the biological self is deceased.

There is 'anecdotal evidence' to support this view, but as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable
doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.

What do you think :?:
I think that I am really tired of people, who deny that conscious experience exists after death. There is tons and tons of evidence that consciousness survives death. People who state there is no evidence obviously do not know what evidence is -- maybe they think that if they can not hold evidence in their hand it does not exist. Horsechit!

There are not "many religions and occult traditions" that postulate an afterlife -- there is every culture and society that has ever existed from ancient history to now, from every continent on the face of the earth, throughout time, and each one of them has some tradition or religion that tries to understand and explain consciousness after death. Does anyone actually think that this is a world-wide coincidence that has managed to endure throughout time?

Psychology says that it is not coincidence, but is instead a need. We create religions and spirits because we need to believe in them, which is more horsechit. That idea is so circular in its logic that it frightens me to think that these are college trained individuals that come up with these ideas. The truth is that we don't need anyone to tell us that spirits and death are real, we create the religions because we need to understand spirits/death.

Then there is personal experience, which is called testimony; and yes, that is also evidence. There are also commonalities in these experiences which give them more weight. Then there are emergency room staff, EMS workers, Hospice workers, and many other professionals, who have been trained in science, and who also deal with death and have witnessed these things.

Then we have well respected doctors like Sam Parnia, and others, who have studied near-death patients and learned a great deal.

Recently I read an article about a man, who was epileptic and was undergoing a brain scan when he died. Although it was accidental, the staff realized that they had recorded his brain as he died, and it demonstrated activity that would normally be associated with dreaming (after he died), so the doctors stated that it looked like the brain was indeed reliving some of it's past experiences -- as has been related by people, who have near-death experiences.

Then there is Dr. Ian Stevenson's work on reincarnation. As far as I know, he is the only person, who used scientific methodology to study reincarnation with some very interesting results.

Then there was the fact that my husband communicated with me a few minutes after he died. It caused me to lose my fear of death for many years, but it is creeping back up on my now.

Gee
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Tom Butler »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:25 am There is 'anecdotal evidence' to support this view, but as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable
doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.
The Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS) https://www.bigelowinstitute.org/ conducted an essay in which 209 people from over 1000 entry requests were accepted. 29 essays were declared winners. (While I was one of the 209, mine was not one of the 29.) The essay question was “What is the best available evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness after Permanent Bodily Death?”

Having experience with the subject, I eagerly read the winning essays expecting to learn what the usually evasive academic thinkers would say. My hope was to see a consensus model emerge from the many informed perspectives. I even wrote brief reviews from the perspective of my growing understanding of survival. https://ethericstudies.org/2021-bics-essay-reviews/

It didn't turn out that way. There were a few hopeful exceptions, but most authors focused on compilations or historical accounts. That moved me to write a "Rules of Evidence" for survival https://ethericstudies.org/rules-of-evidence-survival/

UniversalAlien, in response to your question, the continuous consciousness model seems to best address the evidence. It is important to understand the limits of the evidence, though. Most of the offered evidence is contaminated by cultural training. A lot of it is colored by the fears induced by our human instincts. At this moment, we are each at the confluence of our experience. This prior perception tends to color our current perception.

The bottom line is that reported experiences are virtually always contaminated by expectation based on preconceptions. Of course, this is a universal condition and is not limited to thoughts about survival.

The reason I am comfortable with the Survival Hypothesis is that it is possible to develop a functional model that is predictive of our experiences ... both mundane and paranormal. One of the models I find useful is that the aspect of reality in which mind seems to exist behaves as conceptual space, as opposed to the objective nature of physical space. If true, the rules of evidence required to model a falling apple may not apply to modeling perception or intention.

As I wrote in my BICS Essay entry, the Super-Psi Hypothesis must be considered in any "proof." That means to avoid the problem of cultural contamination and possible Psi access to living agent memory, "proof" should be limited to anomalously accessed information that did not previously exist or that is not predictable based on cultural training. I used an example of EVP in the essay that was ostensibly initiated by a known "dead" person commenting on the then current behavior of her still physical pet. No one in the physical knew of the event at the time the EVP was recorded.

Some very good research has been conducted indicating that people are naturally psychic and naturally express psychokinetically. As a trained medium, I know that mediumistic messages gain credibility as much from inherited credibility of Psi research as from information content.

The influence of intended order on physical process such as random event generators and EVP is well-established. That implies the actual influence of mind on physical processes, apparently in the form of intended order ... a mind-to-physical influence. Precipitated art and apports gain credibility from other forms of intended order and in turn help us develop a model to describe trans-etheric influences.

From my experience, one cannot speak of consciousness as a transient byproduct of the biological brain because it does appear to persist beyond the body. Instead, it seems necessary to stipulate a dualistic reality in which mind is prime and the physical is the product of intended order. From that view, the concept of an "afterlife" is probably better thought of in terms of a temporary physical lifetime experience.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Kamizan »

‘The real question of life after death isn’t whether or not it exists, but even if it does, what problem this really solves.’
Wittgenstein.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by UniversalAlien »

Here is some better than anecdotal evidence :arrow:

Is there an afterlife? Here’s what he saw while he was ‘dead’ | Bruce Greyson for Big Think

See short YouTube video here :arrow:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJs70b2 ... ncourageTV

334,650 views May 8, 2022
What if death isn’t the end? NDEs may complicate what science teaches us about death and consciousness.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Count Lucanor »

We need hard, empirical evidence, that there can be consciousness independent of a physical body, if we are to begin to entertain the idea that consciousness survives death of a subject. No such hard evidence has ever been provided.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Sy Borg »

There's no doubt that afterlives happen, though not to everyone. The question is how long they subjectively last. Generally, a clinically dead person has a number of minutes of oxygen in their brain. So, yes, the people are dead to the outside world but they still living a life in a final dreamworld.

This kind of consciousness is not the same as a dream because parts of the brain are actually dying, which will obviously impact the brain's operation. Also, anecdotal evidence from NDEs points to similarities with lucid dreaming, but with a stronger internal sense of reality.

Most revived people, however, report nothing, so waking from dying was like waking from general anaesthetic for them. Others have life-altering experiences. My own guess is that, when people go into the light, that's game over, and they dissolve into an ocean of bliss. Still, maybe something like a "dream dimension" exists? Guess we'll all find out, not that that will do us any bloody good haha

Note that, during the process of death, the brain releases significant amounts of dopamine. From an evolutionary POV that makes sense. If a gravely ill person's brain releases a lot of dopamine, then that lessens their stress, resulting in more chance of surviving (and reproducing) if the body holds out.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by UniversalAlien »

Some months ago I started a similar post here:

"There is No such thing as Death" :arrow:

https://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums ... =4&t=17971

Losely based upon Planck's theory :arrow: :arrow:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
― Max Planck


BUT, as I think further on the subject - Even if consciousness is universal, it does not mean individual consciousness continues
after death.

The real question still remains as to whether an individual can maintain his consciousness without his living biological body :?:

Supposedly and hypothetically ghosts are such entities.

But I am not a ghost hunter - My concern is whether the 'psyche' of the departed can remain intact
and exist either for reincarnation in another body or if spiritual in nature, ascension to a higher plain :?:

Again there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is possible.

Now give me just one case where it has been proven :?: :arrow:

Consider this from the medical website PubMed :arrow:
[Evidence that suggest the reality of reincarnation]

Ernesto Bonilla
PMID: 26299061
Abstract
Worldwide, children can be found who reported that they have memories of a previous life. More than 2,500 cases have been studied and their specifications have been published and preserved in the archives of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia (United States). Many of those children come from countries where the majority of the inhabitants believe in reincarnation, but others come from countries with different cultures and religions that reject it. In many cases, the revelations of the children have been verified and have corresponded to a particular individual, already dead. A good number of these children have marks and birth defects corresponding to wounds on the body of his previous personality. Many have behaviors related to their claims to their former life: phobias, philias, and attachments. Others seem to recognize people and places of his supposed previous life, and some of their assertions have been made under controlled conditions. The hypothesis of reincarnation is controversial. We can never say that it does not occur, or will obtain conclusive evidence that it happens. The cases that have been described so far, isolated or combined, do not provide irrefutable proof of reincarnation, but they supply evidence that suggest its reality.
Quote source:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26299061/
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Tegularius »

What negates that belief is a question: What would be its purpose; can anyone come up with a reason why there should be life after death which resumes in an endless array of reincarnations? If so, would it refer only to humans?

Unless a probability is established in some way there is no reason reasonable enough to make one believe it; without evidence boosting its probability, it's only wishful thinking which is always certain of what it fervently hopes for as a de facto event whose purpose never was and never will be established. Even in our own philosophy it cannot be properly defined!
The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man ... Nietzsche
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by JackDaydream »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:14 pm Here is some better than anecdotal evidence :arrow:

Is there an afterlife? Here’s what he saw while he was ‘dead’ | Bruce Greyson for Big Think

See short YouTube video here :arrow:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJs70b2 ... ncourageTV

334,650 views May 8, 2022
What if death isn’t the end? NDEs may complicate what science teaches us about death and consciousness.
I have always seen the question of life after death as extremely interesting but it is hard to come up with clear evidence. The issue of NDEs points to states of consciousness on the borderline of death, but they may be explained by the chemical states and the person has not died completely. With reincarnation memories, once again they are interesting, especially if they correspond with a living person. Nevertheless, as David Weiss, in, 'Many Lives, Many Masters', suggests it could be about tapping into the collective pool of memories. So, with both NDEs and reincarnation it all depends on whether these are taken at face value, or whether they are seen as symbolic of the underlying continuity of consciousness behind individual ego consciousness. I am not saying that life after death does not exist in a firm way because human understanding is limited, but to try to argue for it objectively as evident is problematic. Both the existence of life after death or its non existence are speculative and ambiguous.

Even within Christianity there is a big ambiguity over whether the soul is immortal or whether life after death requires a body, as suggested by the idea of a resurrection at the end of the world. It is possible to blend the two together, but it is a bit like putting a jigsw puzzle together. There is also the Eastem tradition, with ideas of Brahman merging with Atman. I have an interest in theosophy and the esoteric, but there is still a philosophical danger of being too literal and concrete in an area which may be one for contemplation of the unknown.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Sculptor1 »

UniversalAlien wrote: January 7th, 2023, 7:25 am There are many religions and occult traditions that postulate an afterlife - Defined here as the continuation of 'consciousness'
and self awareness after the biological self is deceased.

There is 'anecdotal evidence' to support this view, but as far as I know no empirical evidence has ever proven without a reasonable
doubt that conscious life exists after biological death.

What do you think :?:

All wishful thinking and empty promises from religion.
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Count Lucanor wrote: January 7th, 2023, 9:12 pm We need hard, empirical evidence, that there can be consciousness independent of a physical body, if we are to begin to entertain the idea that consciousness survives death of a subject. No such hard evidence has ever been provided.

I think it is compelling evidence the you can bit by bit remove consciousness with spoon by taking our matter from the brain. This indicates the necessary link between consciousness and neural matter.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibfBDKiw1ac
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Tom Butler
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Re: Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Why? Any Evidence?

Post by Tom Butler »

Perhaps, to ask such a question, it would be useful to stipulate the kind of answer that is acceptable. In my view, an acceptable answer may not necessarily be 100% correct, but it would at least contribute to a consensus. Or is this just a scattershot approach to philosophical musing?

I just watched a video of Ed Kelly Ph.D. speaking of metaphysical models. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... IykYnYGnGT He is a longtime parapsychological researcher, but like many academics, his highly intelligent work has virtually zero applicability to the individual trying to learn how to improve lucidity or be a better citizen.

From the perspective of an engineer, philosophy is just babble if it does not lead to actionable understanding. Consider the Spiritualist's idea that a person is an ethereal being having a human experience. That point of view does not have to be 100% correct, but it does have to be useful in helping people understand why they have animal instincts and spiritual instincts that are sometimes contradictory.

That leads to the question of body-centric Physicalism or personality-centric Dualism.

Nonlocality appears to be a universal characteristic of apparent paranormal phenomena. It is also a predicted characteristic of an ethereal being having a human experience. Does the answer have to be body-centric so that it is reasonable to think one kills mind by spooning out brain, or personality-centric in which spooning out brain only cripples the mind-body- interface?
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