1/29/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Life after Death

By Kent

I believe in life after death. So do you. The death of once living animals and plants nourish us. That is why we eat. When plants and animals are eaten, they are transmuted into whatever life form consumes them. Even when flora and fauna are not eaten, their decomposition returns nutrients to the soil or sea. These nutrients are eventually taken up by some form of life and reincarnated. This is the way of the world. Living things die so that other living things may live. Life follows death.

I don’t, however, believe individual consciousness transcends death. How could it? Consciousness depends on, and cannot be separated out from, our biological living bodies. Yes, our sense of self –which is as close as I can get to understanding what people mean by the word soul– usually endures throughout our lifetime. It survives sleep and periods of unconsciousness. But it is always affixed to our bodies. There is no way for our sense of self to continue once our corporeal senses are dead.

When most people speak of life after death, they use sense words like seeing and hearing. They say things of the dead person like, “She is watching her daughter grow from a better place.” But seeing requires eyes and hearing requires ears. With what eyes is a dead person watching? With what ears is a dead person hearing? None. So clearly people who speak of life after death in that way can’t really mean what they are saying. They must mean something else. But what that something else is, I couldn’t say. And neither can they–at least I have never heard or read anyone explain what is really meant when vision or hearing is attributed to a dead person.

Seeing requires a viewpoint. One must be located somewhere in

space. One cannot be everywhere or nowhere and be able to see any- thing. Vision is a physical interaction with light. Therefore, to see, one must be a physical entity. One cannot be nonphysical, spiritual only, and see. The same is true of all our senses. So disembodied souls are senseless.

I believe in life after death whenever dead plants or animals are transubstantiated into the body of a still living being. And so do you. That is why you eat. I don’t believe in the continuation of individual consciousness after death. Do you?

64 comments:

pekingjohn said...

Kent,
Science tells us that every thought, feeling, emotion, perception,i.e., consciousness, is an electro-chemical reaction in the brain, and upon death, those electro-chemical reactions in the brain cease, therefore, our consciousness ceases as well. There is no evidence for a soul.

Science also tells us that "life" is whatever consumes food and reproduces itself. So in this sense, I don't believe your usage of "reincarnation" is accurate. Reincarnation is a concept found in Buddhism where a living being after death is actually reborn as a different living being.

Neverthless, many people do choose to be burried in a pastoral setting just for the very reason you stated - so that their decomposed bodies could nourish the natural setting around them. Their lives do not continue, just as the lives of the animals and vegetables that we take for consumption do not continue.

Jim Earl said...

Kent finished with this:

I don’t believe in the continuation of individual consciousness after death. Do you?

Jim Earl here, and no, I do not.

However, I must say that we are the exception, rather than the rule.

Here in South Carolina, it seems I'm one of the very few that do not believe this crap.

I believe that I have mentioned in the past the various articles in our local paper that daily speak to the dead and even some articles that appear to have been written by the dead. Some dearly departed's family member will write a memorial letter as though it is coming from the dead person him/herself as they reside in heaven. I have yet to see one written as though they were in hell and probably never will.

Anyway, it is all a little creepy and out of touch with reality. But that's typical with the cretin lifestyle. I prefer to live in reality myself. Jim Earl

sconnor said...

Kent,
go to this site and read about the explanations how people perceive after death.It might very well be in the theater of ones mind, but who's to tell.
http://www.near-death.com/

pekingjohn said, Science tells us that every thought, feeling, emotion, perception,i.e., consciousness, is an electro-chemical reaction in the brain, and upon death, those electro-chemical reactions in the brain cease, therefore, our consciousness ceases as well.

You have overinflated what science knows about consciousness and your conclusion is infantile. It is a field that really is in it's infancy and can barely scratch the surface of the brain and would be the first to admit it. The study of consciousness is only now beginning to get a head of steam, in the 21st century.
Consciousness, 'the last great mystery for science', has now become a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Susan Blackmore

Check out these sites,
http://www.mindscience.org/index.cfm
http://assc.caltech.edu/index.htm
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Articles/jcs02.htm

chris said...

When living things die, they decompose into atoms of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc. These atoms are matter. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. It is merely returned to the universe and taken up in some new position. This is reality.

But humans can't seem to be able to deal with that. Death is permanent, and some of us can't handle the thought of never seeing our loved ones again. We can't imagine what it is like to simply not exist, because we have only known existence. So we create methods to avoid reality. We imagine our loved ones looking down on us. We say that we will watch over our children when we pass. We invent gods and religions to explain what is unknown, or to comfort us.

Even as someone who does not believe in an afterlife, I still find reality difficult. But instead of investing my life in the belief that I will be living in some mansion in eternity if I indoctrinate enough people, or wishing away the years till I see my loved ones again, I prefer to make the most of the time I have here. I would rather make every second with my loved ones count, as happy memories, so that when they are gone, those memories can "live on" in me for the remainder of my life. I would rather leave good memories with my children in this life, so that when I am gone, a little bit of me will still live on for a time.

Why do we need an afterlife, anyway? The time we have right now is precious, and full of all the meaning that we can stuff into it. I don't need life after death. This life is amazing!

.:webmaster:. said...

For billions and billions and billions of years before I was born, I did not exist. Yet, for some reason, the fact that I missed out of an eternity of "before me" doesn't seem to bother me at all. In fact, I've never met a single person who was terribly upset at missing out on a past that streaches out, apparently, into eternity.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the billions and billions and billions of years that will pass "after me" will provide an equal measure of difficulty for me.

The fear of death is a basic animal survival instinct, and religions prey on that fear.

Jim Arvo said...

The fear of dying is perfectly natural and rational. The fear of death is perfectly natural but wholly irrational.

.:webmaster:. said...

Good point, Jim!

It's a distinction worth noting and which I glossed over.

Astreja said...

This is precisely the type of 'life after death' that I believe in... The persistence of matter and energy, but not of "Me".

I, too, prefer to make the most of the life that I have right now.

sconnor said...

Chris said, It is merely returned to the universe and taken up in some new position. This is reality.
Consciousness is a tricky concept and so is realiy; who's to say that the new position it returns to, isn't some sort of afterlife? If energy can't be destroyed, who's to say consciousness doesn't somehow retain itself, out of body?

xrayman said...

When the religious person comtemplates an afterlife and living for an eternity I really doubt that they really think it through too much. I invite you all to watch this excellent youtube video I stumbled upon called 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years in heaven. It's really good. The message is the fact that we would get sick and tired of living for eternity and would eventually wecome non existence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MToOECmwMB0

Jamie said...

Would eternity be too long? I dunno...but I can say that 80-100 years hardly seems long enough...or wouldn't if my body didn't give out on the way to its end.

The truth is, I hope there is an afterlife full of bliss and happiness. With a whole universe to explore, I'd certainly like to live a lot longer than I currently get to. It would also be nice to see loved ones again, and to enjoy those relationships I enjoy so much here on Earth.

For me, the desire to live forever is certainly there.

However, the evidence of an afterlife is slim, and the evidence that the way to an after life is to believe proper things is even slimmer.

So the trick is for me to try to enjoy the here and now as much as I can, and simply hope for the best after I die. And like Webmaster said, the billions of years I didn't exist before I was born didn't bother me, and the billions of years after probably won't either.

chris said...

sconner:
"who's to say that the new position it returns to, isn't some sort of afterlife?"

I guess it would depend on the definition of "afterlife." When I die, the matter that made up my phyical self will be taken up somewhere else, and the energy that moved the matter will go somewhere, but by "afterlife" do you mean that my consciousness, or what made me "me" is somehow retained? This is where I am doubtful.

I checked out the sites you listed, and I am interested in this new field of research into human consciousness, but I am getting the impression that it is more about the biological basis of consciousness.

The wonderful thing about science is that it is always searching, always learning, always changing. And to keep up with it, you must have an open mind and be willing to change with it.

If there is something to this "consciousness" outside of the body, I will remain a cautious skeptic, watching where the research leads. But an afterlife in the religious context, supernatural and magical, I do not buy.

One-Eyed Jack said...

Kent: "These nutrients are eventually taken up by some form of life and reincarnated."

The word reincarnated seems awkward to me in this context.

Reincarnate, basically means to be born anew, in another body. There is the assumption, that "some" essential element (identity) of a body, is retained during such transmigration into another.

In the decomposition process, nutrients break down, and are then capable of being absorbed by another organic agent, creating new life/growth.

Once decomposition occurs, and the plant breaks away into smaller elements, how does one consider that a homogenous "body" exists, such that it can be transmigrated?

Samantha said...

No one seems to have commented on the original article; most seem to want to pontificate on other people's motives, despite not having credentials to qualify them as experts on other people's lives.

Kent wants to redefine the phrase "life after death" and tell us that we believe in his new definition. Sorry, Kent, that tactic doesn't work. "Life after death" has definite connotations if not one definite meaning, and you can't make them go away by concocting a new definition.

Kent continues arguing semantics by saying that words that describe physical senses cannot have any meaning outside the physical. While it is true that "seeing" and "hearing" for the disincarnate are not the result of physical organs, you are using the limited nature of the language --we do not normally talk about such things and so there are no words for such things-- to claim that the concept itself is invalid. This is obviously bad logic, but the situation is complex because not many people have experienced the direct communication between two consciousnesses. "Seeing" and "hearing" are attempts to explain things for those with a physical viewpoint.

In between, Kent says that his lack of belief in survival of consciousness --a non-physical thing-- depends on the lack of a physical explanation for it. He fails to explain why a non-physical thing must have a physical explanation, although basing his viewpoint on the idea that consciousness arises from the body explains his confusion. Those who claim that consciousness does survive death rely on the idea that consciousness inhabits the body rather than arising from it.

To answer Kent's final question, I do believe in the survival of individual consciousness. I base this on several experiences of communication with those who have physically died. That this is difficult for many to believe because it is beyond their own experience is one thing, but don't try to tell me what I believe.

.:webmaster:. said...

Samantha wrote, "I do believe in the survival of individual consciousness. I base this on several experiences of communication with those who have physically died."

So, Samantha, forgive my skepticism, but were there any witnesses to these conversations of yours, or were you the only oxygen breather participating in your chats with the deceased?

Care to share a few more details?

Samantha said...

Well, .:webmaster:., I'm going to assume that you're smart enough to know that it's kinda difficult to have a physical witness to a non-physical event, unless your experience in such matters is limited to bad movies so, no, I'm not going to rock your world. All I did was point up some logical shortcomings in the original post, and say that I was quite happy to inhabit the vast territory not claimed by either Christianity or fundie physicalism. And I had the courtesy to not include a "so do you" in any of it.

.:webmaster:. said...

Samantha,

If it is impossible for a human being to play witness to your supposed convocations with the dead, then how did you witness it?

Seriously. Are you telling me that you are not physical?

I'm sure you are smart enough to realize that normal, everyday people do have hallucinations from time to time, for a variety of reasons.

If you are embarrassed to share the details of your tea party with the spirit world, what does that tell you?

Samantha said...

I know what I'm being told by you... that lack of logical thinking is not limited to Christianity.

A witness is not a participant. I participated. I am not in the habit of yelling "CAN I GET A WITNESS?!" and I don't know how anyone can witness a thought process anyway.

I was sure you had already shoved my idea into your little box labeled "hallucination" and I am just tired of playing these little fundie games. Embarrassment is not even the tiniest part of my emotional makeup about this.

.:webmaster:. said...

Samantha,

There is no need to get your panties all in a wad. You stated that you had a couple of meetings with some disembodied people. I'm just skeptical that you had an authentic conversation with a dead person, that's all. You even now admit that the entire process of communicating with the dead is purely "mental."

I had many such communications with GOD when I was a Christian. And sometimes I thought HE was talking back! Isn't that cool!?

Obviously I no longer think I was talking to a deity, I was merely talking to myself. It happens.

Perhaps embarrassment is not your issue, but it is apparent that you have some anger issues in regards to being questioned about this matter.

When you're ready to put your cards on the table and let us all know what a conversation with the dead looks like, please feel free to post it. Until then, have a nice day.

boomSLANG said...

Samantha..."Life after death" has definite connotations if not one definite meaning, and you can't make them go away by concocting a new definition.

Pardon, but your premise is non-sequitur. You erroneously argue that if "A" is true", then "B" must be true..i.e..that because the concept "life after death" has specific connotations; specific meaning, etc., that there is "life after death". There is no evidence for post-mortem life, other than of the anecdotal type you offer now.

Samantha...Those who claim that consciousness does survive death rely on the idea that consciousness inhabits the body rather than arising from it.

Personally, I think you've made a distinction without a darn bit of difference. But I'll run with it. Question: If this alleged non-physical "thing" that isn't "thing" - which also allegedly cannot be explained with physical limits of "language", despite the attempts to explain it with language - "inhabits" the physical body, then in which part of the body does it reside?....i.e.."heart", "liver", "brain", "kidneys", etc. I'm curious.

Samantha...To answer Kent's final question, I do believe in the survival of individual consciousness.[bold added]

And you're not alone---the majority of the world's population "do believe", likewise. In any event, truth isn't determined by popular vote, as far as I know.

Samantha...I base this on several experiences of communication with those who have physically died. That this is difficult for many to believe because it is beyond their own experience is one thing, but don't try to tell me what I believe.

I don't think anyone's trying to tell you what to believe, or disbelieve. Moreover, while you appear to be fuming, still, you don't seem to be offering your hypothesis with conditions attached, which is nice for a change. On the other hand, I still don't mind pointing out that just because someone believes something, doesn't mean it's true.

Kent said...

Samantha,

No worries. You can believe whatever you want as long as your beliefs don't harm me or others. I have neither the desire nor the knowledge to tell you what to believe.

I would note, however, that at the point in my piece where I state that the reader believes in life after death, I had not yet "redefined" the term. So it was true and remains true, as far as I know, that you, Samantha, believe in life after death.

Since "'Life after death' has definite connotations if not one definite meaning," you might want to enlighten me.

pekingjohn and one-eyed jack,

I am sorry that you got hung up (a little) on the word "reincarnated". I was using the traditional idea of reincarnation metaphorically, not literally.

sconnor,

I went to your near death site and didn't find anything explaining "how people perceive after death." I guess I missed it.

Kent

Anonymous said...

Once again, the history of religion pretty much puts the kibosh on all this speculation about consciousness, etc. Primitive peoples and peoples of ancient civilizations did not believe in an afterlife. This is an invention of more recent times, within the last 3,000 years. The concept of an afterlife is intimately associated with sedentary people's nagging realization that the sedentary (civilized) way of life is at best a compromise with overpopulation, and in the end, not the way people, or any living thing, should live, if the enjoyment of life is the main objective. So the idea of a happy afterlife came about at the same time as the idea of a soul distinct from the body. This idea provided relief for people whose lives tilling the soil and paying taxes to a tyrant did not provide sufficient rewards. Obviously the priests recognized the value of the concept of the obverse, an unhappy afterlife, and cultivated it to increase the power of their class. The sad fact is that civilized life does not provide rewards enough for a human being. Every civilized person knows deep down that they are missing something. Primitive people never want to trade their way of life for a civilized way of life. The conclusion can only be that despite its brutality, living wild provides essential satisfactions that civilized living does not provide. No wonder the Garden of Eden story, that can be interpreted as representing the transition of man living wild to man living civilized, is called "The Fall of Man." But nonbelievers, such as the author of this really quite sound post, are learning that the only possible way to a new "wild" life is through knowledge. Among the cutting edge of the human race (no matter what the majority may be doing in Carolina) the day of seeking relief from the drudgery of an unrewarding civilized life in a fantasy afterlife is over.

sconnor said...

Chris,
I agree, I don't believe in the Christian superstition of an afterlife, but that doesn't mean an afterlife doesn't exist. Being that religion and cultures have afterlife notions, leads me to believe that we are painfully limited to grasp something as transcendent as an afterlife and the words we, use to try and explain, what the afterlife is or could be is too limited and usually gets perverted or used as a bogus agenda -- it is ineffable.

You also said, I don't need life after death. This life is amazing!

Evidently, you haven't recently walked through a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or Burn Unit or studied the history of diseases, natural disasters, wars or genocide.

sconnor said...

Kent,
You said, I went to your near death site and didn't find anything explaining "how people perceive after death." I guess I missed it.

Either you are lazy or you are inept. The site is chalk full of testimonials on how people perceive, when they have had NDEs. I suggest you go back and take more than five minutes to peruse the wealth of information. And not for one minute am I not skeptical but the information you you so easily dismiss, is there.

Scott

boomSLANG said...

Dear Scott/Sconner,

NDE's...i.e..people who experience visions, dreams, etc., when near death, is evidence of nothing.....well, except that people who are near death experience visions, dreams, etc.

'Tell ya what---find me a person who comes back with an "experience" to talk about---- that is, after they are taken to pathology, have their vital organs cut out, weighed, stuffed back in, stitched back up. Then we'll talk, m'kay?

And BTW, what say you about all the Muslims who claim to see "Allah", and all the people who claim to see nothing, when they were "near death"? Do you simply dismiss their experiences out of hand? I'm curious.

sconnor said...

boomslang,
What are you, in the mood for a fight? If you comprehended my last post; I said I was skeptical -- what don't you understand? I just point out that people who have had NDEs can perceive and they talk about at length. If it is the theater of ones mind or a real afterlife experience, I can not say, but it is you who dismiss these experiences out of hand.
I could play devils advocate, if you need someone to mentally tangle with.

Scott

chris said...

sconnor,

You said, "I agree, I don't believe in the Christian superstition of an afterlife, but that doesn't mean an afterlife doesn't exist."

True, it doesn't mean that. And yes, words are a poor means of communication. I once went to a seminar for work which taught that body language was the best means to communicate, and words ranked last. So I guess that the concept of an afterlife could be one that we can't understand. But, as long as it doesn't involve setting me on fire for all eternity for not believing in the correct religion, I guess I don't need to worry about it. I'll make the best of the current moment.

"Evidently, you haven't recently walked through a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or Burn Unit or studied the history of diseases, natural disasters, wars or genocide."

I have studied the history of diseases, and the history of drug development. I work in a community hospital. I have seen peds patients and burn patients and cancer patients. I've seen a tornado rip through my community and destroy the homes and lives of people I have known my entire life. I have two friends with autistic children (one has two sons with the disorder). I grew up living next door to a girl my age who had spina bifida. Another neighbor of mine, the mother of one of my childhood friends, drowned when she was 29 years old and left my friend without a mother. Another friend of mine from high school was murdered at age 19 by her stepfather, along with her mother who was at one time one of my Girl Scout leader. I'm familiar with the history or wars and genocide. In my lifetime alone there has been plenty of that. I just returned from Kenya. I was there when the post-election violence broke out. I met so many wonderful people there and when I read yet another article about what's going on over there, I cry.

I know I have it better than many. I know that this life can be difficult and painful. But I still think it's amazing.

One-Eyed Jack said...

Kent: "I am sorry that you got hung up (a little) on the word "reincarnated". I was using the traditional idea of reincarnation metaphorically, not literally."

Thanks for the reply and the thread. It seems to have piqued the interest of many.

It does appear that energy exchange continues through all cycles of life, and through differing material stores. Take care.

sconnor said...

Chris,
You said, I know I have it better than many. I know that this life can be difficult and painful. But I still think it's amazing.

We both understand pain and suffering, but thinking life is amazing is fairly subjective. Can you clarify what you mean by, life is "amazing"? What is so amazing? Is it loves first kiss? procreation? A helping hand? A starry night? Fuzzy bunnies? The birth of a child? A beautiful sunset? A job well done?
I don't know; tell me what you think.
Thanks, Scott

BTW, yeah, I agree about the Christian afterlife. Being burned, in a pit, for an eternity or bowing, on my knees, in worship, in the clouds, for an eternity, both sound grueling and torturous.

boomSLANG said...

Sconner/Scott...boomslang,
What are you, in the mood for a fight?


I'd never rule it out---but for the time being, what I'm really in the mood for, is for someone - whether they are proponents of NDE's, or not - to explain how eternal consciousness is conceptually even possible. To "exist" is a temporal act; to "think", or to contemplate, has a starting point, and ending point. 'Just a few things to think about.

Sconner/Scott...If you comprehended my last post; I said I was skeptical -- what don't you understand?

Thanks for asking---I don't understand people who seem to be 'hopeful' when it comes to the possibility of existing in some way, shape, or form, for an eternity. Admittedly, I don't "get it". I hope that's okay with you, yes? Maybe you can even help me understand it. Until then, I'm intrigued by the notion. Shit, I couldn't imagine going 48 hours without shutting "off" my thoughts, let alone, one long perpetual, atemporal, never-ending "thought". Speaking of "shutting off" our thoughts---if we couldn't "rest"..i.e.."sleep", our over-sized brains - and the rest of our physical bodies - would over-heat, and we'd croak. On the other hand, a non-physical "self"; a disembodied "consciousness", wouldn't require said "rest", for said reasons.

Existing eternally sounds more and more like a living "hell"(pun fully intended) to me.

Sconner/Scott...I just point out that people who have had NDEs can perceive and they talk about at length.

Okay. But isn't it implicit that you believe that such "perception" and "experieces" lend plausibility to the notion of a post-mortem "life"? I think so.....but you can correct me if I'm out in left field somewhere. On the other hand, if I'm right on target, then maybe you could give some perspective on the problems I posed for the concept of an "afterlife", above.

Sconner/Scott...If it is the theater of ones mind or a real afterlife experience

The problem with this is, the lack of pulse, or heartbeat, does not necessarily mean the brain has died. Furthermore, look at the terms "near death", and afterlife. Do you see the conundrum this presents?

Sconner/Scott... I can not say, but it is you who dismiss these experiences out of hand.

No, I'm sorry, I do not dismiss - what you refer to as these people's "experiences", and "perception" of these experiences - out of hand. I never said, or implied, any such thing. I only question the nature/origin of said experiences---and like I said previously, I'm intrigued by those who would actually 'hope' that they could exist forever, whether they ever have an "NDE", or not.

Sconner/Scott...I could play devils advocate, if you need someone to mentally tangle with.

Ooo. Okay, I should be more cautious while you're around, then.

xrayman said...

Boomslang said,

"Tell ya what---find me a person who comes back with an "experience" to talk about---- that is, after they are taken to pathology, have their vital organs cut out, weighed, stuffed back in, stitched back up. Then we'll talk, m'kay?"

Brillian statement my friend. I use a similar type of line when confronted with people who's proof of life after death are the countless reports by those who have experienced NDE's.

I will simply state."THESE PEOPLE WERE NEVER DEAD !!!!" So it proves nothing except that hallutionations often occur when one flatlines for a period of time.

They only way life after death could be proven would be if a psychic or other medium talking to the dead could get the deceased to answer a very specific question asked by a third party that only this third party and the deceased would know.

For instance if someone could contact my dead grandfather and ask him what was so funny about our trip to the zoo when I was seven, and get the correct answer, I would be convinced. It was 37 years ago and only he and I would know the answer.

One-Eyed Jack said...

Just some thoughts on NDEs, afterlife, and some philosophical and theological connections.

The acronym NDE literally means near-death experience (life), not after-death experience (after-life).

Our language allows for precision but requires skill and energy; more so than if speaking in general terms with open context.

As well, we speak in moods, based on rhythm, volume, and pitch; think of all the mood states that can be conveyed using the word "dude", or the "f" bomb. Mood conveyance, as well as speaking in metaphor, allegory, etc., leave much room for a reader to misinterpret the sender's message.

I typically ask for clarification, in such cases, because I have not acquired the gift of ESP, although my taste buds have been a little more sensitive as of late :-)

To me, when the topic of after-life is introduced and it is eventually followed with NDEs, I tend to draw distinct lines between the two states of being, referred to.

Albeit, the word "life" itself, has a variety of meanings, and can be used metaphorically and in general context. To discuss the after-life, begs one to know what "life" means.

To Samantha, and many other Christians, life is to be understood in degrees, and in dimensions - non-unity. A sinful person's spiritual soul is not as strong as righteous persons' soul; a living physical body resides in a different dimension than angels and other spiritual souls in heaven, etc.

It would be more accurate for Christians to refer to the commonly used term after-life, as the after-physical-life, to express their belief in multiple life forms hosted in one physical body, e.g., spiritual life form.

When on the topic of spiritual life forms, it would be more accurate for them to distinguish between, human souls, angels, Holy Ghost, imps, demons, etc, and all the varying degrees they believe exists within each form, and between each form.

To end, the discussion of "life", over the past few thousand years at a minimum, has focused on two factors; form and substance.

While "most" people, even the more illiterate, see that life forms do transform via growth & decomposition cycles, e.g., bacteria, animals, plants, where each physically undergoes noted physical form changes over time, many will debate the issue of "substance".

The substance debate is centered on...

"Substance theory, or substance attribute theory, is an ontological theory about objecthood, positing that a substance is distinct from its properties."

"Properties - b. (in Aristotelian logic) an attribute not essential to a species but always connected with it and with it alone."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/properties

Substance is the essential core that allows non-essential elements to form around.

"Monistic views, often associated with immanence, hold that there is only one substance, sometimes called God or Being."

And, sometimes the essence of Nature, Spinoza.

"Dualist and pluralist views hold that two or more types of substances do exist, and that these can be placed in an ontological hierarchy. Platonism or Aristotelianism considers that there are various substances, while stoicism and Spinoza hold that there is only one substance."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_theory

In short, according to Aristotelian philosophy, there are various substances in the Universe. These "substances" are the cores which can be/are surrounded by "non-essential" elements, that through natural forces and through energy exchange processes and mechanisms, have rendered physical forms, i.e., humans, animals, rocks, etc.

Substance is a topic that separates many beliefs. It is the controversy over substance that causes the argument over the Christian God (abstract mental concept) as being of "one" substance of differing substances.

Even when the argument that all three religious articles; father, son and holy ghost are said to be the same, they are typically said to be the same in purpose, but separate in substance, else all three would be of "equal" power, since substance is the "pure essence" of what it means to be something.

Take it the other way, that there is only one God, and one substance; which transforms into different forms to do business; holy ghost as protector & mediator of good and evil here on earth, and Jesus, savior of the lost souls he omnisciently and deliberately created.

This topic is not brought up on Sunday sermon, because the religious leaders have no answer; and there continues to be great conflict between the many thousands of different Christian religious denominations, and even among other religious denominations.

Noteworthy; is that this little splinter of dissent within Christianity began ~325 AD, when the "nature" of God was being voted on at the First Council of Nicaea. Once the vote became majority, articles and short writings were collected from the popular circles that supported the view, and they were used to create the bible.

"The First Council of Nicaea in 325 debated the terms homoousios and homoiousios. The word homoousios means "same substance", whereas the word homoiousios means "similar substance". The council affirmed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Godhead) are of the homoousious (same substance). Many commentators--most notably Walter Gibbon--have noted that the entire controversy hung on a difference of the smallest Greek letter (i, or iota)."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homoiousios

There continues to be controversy.

So, when someone begins talking about spiritual life, or the after-physical-life, they are inherently (likely without a clue), speaking on the topic of "substance".

The way a person chooses to perceive substance, determines how they perceive the after-life, in terms of consciousness, etc. A person, may not make a distinction of substance at-all, there may be no single substance that stands as the "core", by which they believe the physical realm forms around.

This discussion can lead into many areas; Heraclitus suggested that change was a constant, but was that "change" in terms of form or substance...

I suppose we can all ponder, on the implications of substance and what it may mean, once we transform from our physical forms; but of course, there are no currently established facts regarding anything indestructible and unchanging in the Universe, and the philosophy of reductionism, that has for the past few thousand years, been the predominant principle of research, has been declared a dead-end by many leading philosophers and scientists of today.

Christians have murdered Christians, and anyone else who didn't conform to their belief, for the past few thousand years, based on the underlying beliefs of substance, and have done so blindly and without evidence.

While science attempts to continue seeking a cure for such nonsense, by seeking a "constant" underlying substance that is beyond destruction, that is inherently "essential" to Nature, and perhaps other modes/substances within Nature, they do so, methodically and without prejudice - the facts will be objective in the end, it will be up to humans to give the objective data personal meaning.

Well, at any rate, it appears we can ponder the implications of our own beliefs on the matter, and wait for science to provide more information, since religion has been a hindrance since the beginning of civilization on anything remotely conflicting with their agenda.

pekingjohn said...

sconner,

Perhaps the problem that you had with my comment was that I did not mention the psychological aspects of consciousness, and reduced consciousness to mere electrochemical reactions.

Nevertheless, within the context of our discussion, "whether individual consciousness transcends death", my comment was quite accurate.

My point was that consciousness was physical (electrochemical reactions in the brain) as opposed to something spiritual, like a soul, which is assumed to have no physical basis, and that when the brain dies, these electrochemical reactions stop, and so does consciousness.

I went to the websites that you suggested, and what I found only supported my views:

1. http://www.mindscience.org/index.cfm
The first one contained the article,
"What Is the Biological Basis of Consciousness?" by Greg Miller. Here are some quotes from that article:
"... consciousness emerges from the properties and organization of neurons in the brain."
"Damage to certain evolutionarily ancient structures in the brainstem robs people of consciousness entirely ..."

It seems quite apparent that consciousness is intrinsically tied to neurons, which operate by electrochemical reactions, and that when the brain dies, consciousness ceases. Do you disagree with this?

2. http://assc.caltech.edu/index.htm
The second link you gave was to a student association at Caltech concerning consciousness studies. There were no articles directly on that site concerning consciousness that I could find.

However, there were links to other sites with related articles. I read a couple of them, there were many, and they were concerned with the psychological aspects of consciousness and not related to our discussion.

3.
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Articles/jcs02.htm
The third link you gave was to an article by Susan Blackmore entitled "There is no stream of consciousness." Again, it was an article that addressed the psychological aspects of consciousness and was not related to the discussion at hand.

However, there was one paragraph that linked consciousness to neurons, which, again, supports my point. A quote, " ... this knowledge may help us to locate the awareness neurons we are looking for."

Do you disagree that consciousness dies when the brain dies, or are you unhappy that I described consciousness in such simple terms as "electrochemical reactions"?

I hold that my original comment was accurate and pertinent.

chris said...

Scott,

My thinking that life is amazing is most definitely subjective. I never intended it to mean anything else. It is amazing for all the reasons you mentioned, and many more.

It comes down to how we view life. What attitudes do we chose to have, what do we focus on, etc. I don't have to look very far each day to find something that I could be upset about, nor do I have to look very far to find something that I feel good about. I try to focus on the things that make me feel good.

I think we're getting way off-topic now. Scott, could you explain to me your thoughts on consciousness, as far as individual consciousness staying intact beyond death. I guess I was a bit confused because of the first two sites you referenced. Like pekingjohn said, many of the articles referenced the neuronal basis of our consciousness, which would logically cease to exist when we die. You mentioned consciousness retaining itself outside of the body, but I'm not sure if you have definite ideas about that or if you are skeptical yet open to the idea.

Regarding NDE's: I don't doubt for minute that these people have these experiences. I know someone personally who had one. But to me it doesn't prove an afterlife. There have been experiments with the drug Ketamine in inducing NDE's in people, which would indicate a neuronal basis.

It's a complicated subject. I guess I simplify it by saying that I dismiss any kind of afterlife which is "supernatural" or magical in nature. If there is some other kind of consciousness which is beyond the physical limits of the body, it would still be "natural" as opposed to "supernatural," and I would think it would have some sort of electrical or energy basis. I don't pretend to know.

chris

sconnor said...

Boomslang,
Here's the deal, I don't dismiss the notion of a consciousness continuing after death. Several key ingredients to that observation are:
1. Children have NDEs and have expressed being outside their bodies
2. The majority of the experiencers have similar attributes.
3. Not all NDEs have resulted from the same cause.
a. Not all were under anesthesia
b. Not all were on drugs
c. Some were considered clinically dead
d. Some have had the experience, without being near death at all
e. National Geographic had an excellent show about a woman who had to have emergency surgery for an aneurysm. The show goes into great detail how they had to stop her heart and drain the blood from her brain. Everything was a flat line; she was clinically dead and then she had a profound outer body experience, where she was able to describe the medical instruments, what the doctors were saying, and what the saw sounded like that cut into her skull, as her consciousness floated above her body. She was completely out and had special plugs in her ears. After that she had the whole tunnel of light, perfect love, meeting dead relatives, etc. This is all corroborated with the doctors.
4. If they were just dreams or hallucinations they wouldn't have similar attributes. Their experiences were not about having sex on an island with a scantly clad woman, or running out of time on a test or pink elephants, they were of a spiritual nature, even for those who were not religious or spiritual. People who have had these experiences claim they are nothing like dreams or hallucinations.
5. NDEs, generally have a profound effect on the subject after the event
6. Doctors have started to take the study of consciousness surviving outside the body more seriously starting at the end of the 20th century going into the 21st century.

I'm like you, I am skeptical, but for me it is a thin thread of something concrete. A very thin thread, that if it was tied to that piece of concrete, dangling over my head, I wouldn't want to stand under it.

Go to this site, and thoroughly search it; I think it will answer many of your questions.
http://www.near-death.com/

sconnor said...

Chris,
You said, Scott, could you explain to me your thoughts on consciousness, as far as individual consciousness staying intact beyond death. I guess I was a bit confused because of the first two sites you referenced. Like pekingjohn said, many of the articles referenced the neuronal basis of our consciousness, which would logically cease to exist when we die. You mentioned consciousness retaining itself outside of the body, but I'm not sure if you have definite ideas about that or if you are skeptical yet open to the idea.

You can see my thoughts on consciousness in the reply to Boomslang. The only thing I can add is we know very little about how the mind works; we know there are chemicals and firing neurons and electrical pulses but this certainly does not rule out the idea that consciousness can continue outside the body. I'm with you, I am looking for the natural cause not the supernatural.

Scott

BTW, Boomslang, as far as having your consciousness go on for an eternity, all I can say is time is a man-made concept. In an eternity of time, a googolplex could be perceived as a microsecond. Perhaps if your consciousness continued for an eternity you would have an eternity of things to do, without the physical body getting tired.

boomSLANG said...

Scott/Sconner...Boomslang,
Here's the deal, I don't dismiss the notion of a consciousness continuing after death.


Thank you for that astonishing disclosure.

Scott/Sconner...Several key ingredients to that observation are:

I think, and hope, that you meant "opinion"; not "observation". Right? If astral projecting and communicating with dead people, etc., where "observable", we wouldn't be having this conversation. Would we?

1. Children have NDEs and have expressed being outside their bodies

Children also claim that their stuffed animals talk to them, and that monsters live under the bed.

2. The majority of the experiencers have similar attributes.

Dreams and hallucinations are not exactly unheard of, and man has been experiencing them for time, immemorial. If such experiences are the result of chemical reactions in our physical brains, and/or, a lack of oxygen to or brains... well...we all have the same chemicals and reactions to lack of oxygen.

3. Not all NDEs have resulted from the same cause.

Relevance? You're presumably either "dead", or you're not, right?

a. Not all were under anesthesia
b. Not all were on drugs
c. Some were considered clinically dead
d. Some have had the experience, without being near death at all


a,b,c, etc., lends credibility to your premise, how?

e. National Geographic had an excellent show about a woman who had to have emergency surgery for an aneurysm. The show goes into great detail how they had to stop her heart and drain the blood from her brain. Everything was a flat line; she was clinically dead and then she had a profound outer body experience, where she was able to describe the medical instruments, what the doctors were saying, and what the saw sounded like that cut into her skull, as her consciousness floated above her body. She was completely out and had special plugs in her ears. After that she had the whole tunnel of light, perfect love, meeting dead relatives, etc. This is all corroborated with the doctors.

If they "drained the blood" from the subject's brain, we can safely conclude that, since blood carries oxygen, that her brain was deprived of oxygen, yes? 'Sounds like a perfect recipe for experiencing precisely what you've spent your whole life hoping for..and that is, meeting grandpa, and grandma---and even Rover, the family dog that was hit by a sewer truck when they were 7.

BTW, what say you about people who insist that they can communicate with dead pets? There are TV specials that "corroborate" the claims of these special people.

4. If they were just dreams or hallucinations they wouldn't have similar attributes.

No? Then how do you explain that dreams of "falling", dreams of "snakes", dreams of "monsters", and dreams of "teeth" are so common among people?

Their experiences were not about having sex on an island with a scantly clad woman, or running out of time on a test or pink elephants, they were of a spiritual nature, even for those who were not religious or spiritual. People who have had these experiences claim they are nothing like dreams or hallucinations.

I don't doubt that. Waking from a lucid, sleep-induced dream, is probably a lot different than being under anesthesia, and/or, your brain being physically near death(depleted of oxygen)

5. NDEs, generally have a profound effect on the subject after the event

I also don't doubt that. However, believing strongly in something based on pure experience, often times, isn't fully rational. Take, hypothetically, a women who has a vivid dream that she was mugged and raped. It, too, may have an equally "profound effect on the subject after the event". She may even conclude that it's totally unsafe to ever leave her house again. Yet, logically speaking, are the chances any greater that such an event will ever happen in real life, solely because of said "experience"? No.

6. Doctors have started to take the study of consciousness surviving outside the body more seriously starting at the end of the 20th century going into the 21st century.

Source?

Go to this site, and thoroughly search it; I think it will answer many of your questions.
http://www.near-death.com/
[bold added]

I may go to the site; I may not.

I've hopefully already made it clear that "NDE's" are not admissible as evidence for an "dual existence"; for an "afterlife". Again, until I see - with my own eyes - a man get up from a gurney after being taken to pathology for protocal, I'm convinced that there's a natural explanation for said events.

Best regards

sconnor said...

Boomslang,
First let me commend you on your razor-like dissection of NDEs; it is that of a skilled surgeon wielding his scalpel like a precision-tuned artist -- strawmen aren't part of your arsenal. And your grasp of the information is truly commanding and is a testament of your obvious expertise and colossal intellect. Overwhelmingly, you have conveyed and possess a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and indeed, your extensive study and scholarship in NDEs are amazingly apparent and profound. Your one-offs and conclusions are expertly and impressively relevant and exhaustively decisive. Great work, man, truly stellar work!

Try educating yourself on the study of NDEs and OBEs before making ignorant conclusions and dismissing -- out of hand -- anything these people may say on the subject, just so you can bolster your world-view. You are just as bad as the creationist bunch, basing everything on speculation, conjecture and misinformation, without any real study.
http://www.melvinmorse.com/light.htm
http://www.lifeafterlife.com/
http://www.near-death.com/
http://www.observations.net/popup/sabom.html
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/experts04.html

boomSLANG said...

Taken from the very first of the recommended links, "melvinmorse.com":

"This picture[imagine crayon-drawn picture by child, or check the link for yourself] was drawn by a seven year old girl who nearly drowned in a swimming pool. Above the blue line, we see the girl in a world with flowers. As I expressed complete disbelief at her story, she patted me condescendingly on the hand and told me, 'You'll see Dr. Morse, Heaven is fun.'"[bold added]

So, Sconner/Scott, you're a Christian, are you? I'll attempt another direct question: Is it your position, Sconner/Scott, that "NDE's" are mutually inclusive with Christian Theology?...and further, that the THOUSANDS of testimonials of NDE'S" reported from Muslims and Buddhists are just fanciful hallucinations? You know, in some aspects, I guess it would only make sense that you are a Christ-follower, because after all, we see Christians turn purple and start frothing at the mouth on a daily basis on this site, especially when we challenge their "thought"-process.

Come on, Sconner/Scott, they cannot ALL be right. So which is it?....which Theology has a monopoly on the True Afterlife™? Please enlighten us, further.

PS: Oh, and thanks for the kind words, dude! You know, at first I thought you were just being a facetious little bitch-boy, but then it dawned on me---you didn't provide one single counter-point to my rebuttal. Nothing; zip; nadda. No, apparently, the best you've got are more links for us to check out, this, despite having been told that "near-death" is technically alive. BTW, I suppose that lucky little girl was never exposed to the concept of "heaven" prior to that. Nor did mommy, or daddy, EVER mention to her that she had a little brother(or sister) on the way. Nah, that would never happen......the nerve of me, right? lol

Hey, find me that talking cadavor, and then y'all come back!..okay handsome?

Bye now!

alan_h said...

sconnor:

If consciousness exists outside of the body then it would have to be something other than the activity of brain cells. In other words, consciousness would not require a living brain in order to exist. How could we detect a "disembodied" consciousness? What would it be made of?
It would have to be immaterial, since no one has seen a consciousness leave a person's skull. If it were energy then what keeps it from dissipating? If consciousness is something other than brain activity then why does damage to the brain affect it? If someone's consciousness is floating above their body then why would it then return to the body? As you say there is quite a lot we don't know about the brain, but we need to be careful when we start filling in the gaps with speculation.

pekingjohn said...

Sconner,
We know that many organs can continue functioning after perceived death.

We know that the hair, skin, and fingernails keep growing weeks after death.

Also, when my grandfather died of heart disease a few years ago, his heart kept a steady little murmur for nearly 15 minutes after the doctor pronounced him dead. You could see it quite plainly on the cardio-meter.

Where I live, we like our fish fresh. I have personally scaled and gutted a live fish (our evolutionary ancestor), keeping the head on, just minutes before throwing it into the frying pan. Scaled and gutted, the fish still jumps around until you get him into the hot oil, where he makes a final huge jump. Regardless of the fact that the heart was removed, the nervous system was in fine working order. (I know this example might not fit the context of our discussion, but I believe there is a relevant point to be made here.)

The point I'm trying to make is, at the time of death, not everything shuts down all at once, whether humans or a fish. So it's quite conceivable that the brain could keep working minutes or even longer after the heart stops.

I too have had a close friend who claimed to have an NDE. It was as everybody else said - floating over the operating table, watching the doctors work, etc ...

Could it be possible that the human brain is hardwired to have such an experience just a moment after the heart stops?

pekingjohn said...

Sconner,

Scott, you seem to really be reaching for evidence for consciousness after death. You seem to have sort of a desperate hope about this:

"Consciousness is a tricky concept and so is reality; who's to say that the new position it returns to, isn't some sort of afterlife? If energy can't be destroyed, who's to say consciousness doesn't somehow retain itself, out of body?"


I know you are suffering a loss, and I can really feel for you. I have a son, and I can only imagine the suffering you must be going through.

I was very close to my father, who died 5 years ago. I regret not spending much time with him in the last 10 years of his life. Deep down inside I wish that I could be with him in heaven.

You don't ever really get over the lost of a loved one, you just get used to it.

Hang in there, Scott.

AtheistToothFairy said...

pekingjohn wrote:
We know that the hair, skin, and fingernails keep growing weeks after death
---
Pekingjohn,

Sorry my friend, but this is incorrect, although it has been an age-old common fallacy to believe so.

See here...
http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mhairgrow.html

and

http://www.snopes.com/science/nailgrow.asp


ATF(who once upon a time also thought this was true)

sconnor said...

Boomslang,
Again, well said, very articulate. It only took you a couple of posts to call me a belligerent name -- a sign of a confident and polished debater.

1. I'm not Christian
2. I'm non-religious
3. I oppose Christianity and it's doctrines
4. I don't believe in psychics; pet or otherwise, or mind readers, or fortune tellers, ETC.
5. I don't believe in a personal god
6. If anything I believe in an ultimate reality, that includes natural law, the vastness of the universe, consciousness, and our very own existence as something immanent, transcendent and ineffable. The ultimate reality for me is "just being". Furthermore, this is an ongoing process and I have the right to change my mind anytime I want, especially given new, pertinent, information. Also, from a personal study, I have been conducting for the past year and a half, I think there is something to these NDEs and somehow it is possible that consciousness can live on outside the body. Again I am skeptical but at first when Raymond Moody started studying these experiences, his peers dismissed everything out of hand and exclaimed, they were dreams, lack of oxygen, anesthesia, drugs and so on, but how do you really know unless you conduct extensive studies?
Should we stop studying these experiences because you have written them off as dreams or hallucinations?


1. Children have NDEs and have expressed being outside their bodies

Children also claim that their stuffed animals talk to them, and that monsters live under the bed.


(Yeah, but usually after battling leukemia, then being revived after a heart attack a child's imagination isn't at full speed and you wouldn't think the first thing they would do -- in recovery -- is lie about an extraordinary experience.)

BTW, I suppose that lucky little girl was never exposed to the concept of "heaven" prior to that. Nor did mommy, or daddy, EVER mention to her that she had a little brother(or sister) on the way. Nah, that would never happen......the nerve of me, right? lol


(If you would have spent more than five seconds scanning the Morse sight, maybe educating yourself, you would have found some of these children were not religious or had Christian backgrounds or were old enough to understand the concept of heaven. You might have recognized that Dr. Morse is a neuroscientist and pediatrician who has been studying these experiences for about twenty eight years -- something convinced him.)

2. The majority of the experiencers have similar attributes.

Dreams and hallucinations are not exactly unheard of, and man has been experiencing them for time, immemorial. If such experiences are the result of chemical reactions in our physical brains, and/or, a lack of oxygen to or brains... well...we all have the same chemicals and reactions to lack of oxygen.


(Everyone who has had these experiences, adamantly deny they were dreams or hallucinations.)
These are the common elements.
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence06.html

3. Not all NDEs have resulted from the same cause.

Relevance? You're presumably either "dead", or you're not, right?

a. Not all were under anesthesia
b. Not all were on drugs
c. Some were considered clinically dead
d. Some have had the experience, without being near death at all

a,b,c, etc., lends credibility to your premise, how?


(The relevance is that the lack of oxygen is not the only way you can have this experience.
You are getting hung up on the semantics of "death" -- near death is a term coined by Dr. Moody. I'm establishing that there are reports of near death like experiences, where the subject is not near death or dead, but very much alive and have the same common elements.
These examples are used to show you that experiences happened to people who weren't under the influence of drugs and anesthesia, some happened when they were clinically dead and others while they were perfectly alive and not under the influence of drugs.)

If they "drained the blood" from the subject's brain, we can safely conclude that, since blood carries oxygen, that her brain was deprived of oxygen, yes? 'Sounds like a perfect recipe for experiencing precisely what you've spent your whole life hoping for..and that is, meeting grandpa, and grandma...

(This doesn't explain what she witnessed and was able to describe while she was deprived of oxygen.)

...what say you about people who insist that they can communicate with dead pets? There are TV specials that "corroborate" the claims of these special people.

(You also forgot, big foot, Loch Ness monster, UFOs, psychokinesis, and faith healing. Straw man? I didn't say the show corroborated; I said the doctors who drilled into her head, corroborated the story.)

4. If they were just dreams or hallucinations they wouldn't have similar attributes.

No? Then how do you explain that dreams of "falling", dreams of "snakes", dreams of "monsters", and dreams of "teeth" are so common among people?

(I didn't make myself clear. The experiencers have the same attributes (common elements) and are nothing like dreams or hallucinations. refer to the common elements site.)

5. NDEs, generally have a profound effect on the subject after the event

I also don't doubt that. However, believing strongly in something based on pure experience, often times, isn't fully rational. Take, hypothetically, a women who has a vivid dream that she was mugged and raped. It, too, may have an equally "profound effect on the subject after the event". She may even conclude that it's totally unsafe to ever leave her house again. Yet, logically speaking, are the chances any greater that such an event will ever happen in real life, solely because of said "experience"? No.

(Straw man? You give me the extensive list of women who have vivid dreams about anything and let me know how it profoundly effected their life? "Hypothetically", doesn't get you off the hook.)

Is it your position, Sconner/Scott, that "NDE's" are mutually inclusive with Christian Theology?...and further, that the THOUSANDS of testimonials of NDE'S" reported from Muslims and Buddhists are just fanciful hallucinations?

No. Studies suggest that NDEs are experienced in the religious and cultural background of the experiencer. Most, however, after their experience, become less religious or become non-religious and maybe, more spiritual.

6. Doctors have started to take the study of consciousness surviving outside the body more seriously starting at the end of the 20th century going into the 21st century.

Source?

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/skeptic03.html
http://www.iands.org/research/important_studies/out-of-body_experiences_all_in_the_brain.html

(And this site I recommend, you read the entire article.)
http://www.iands.org/research/important_studies/dr._pim_van_lommel_m.d._continuity_of_consciousness.html

Hey, find me that talking cadavor, and then y'all come back!..okay handsome?

(Here are some testimonials, but again my contention is, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that consciousness, can continue outside the brain, the mind and the body, without being dead as well as being clinically dead.)
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence10.html

sconnor said...

Pekingjohn,
You said, Could it be possible that the human brain is hardwired to have such an experience just a moment after the heart stops?

Maybe, but that is what science is for; to make discoveries of phenomena.

Isn't it possible, consciousness can continue outside the body?

Same answer as before.

pekingjohn said...

AtheistToothFairy,
I visited the sights you suggested. I stand corrected. Thank you.

.:webmaster:. said...

For those who are unaware, or may have forgotten, SConner's testimonial is on this site: LINK.

Regarding, near-death experiences (NDE), I read Dr. Moody's "Life after Life" when it was first published in 1975. Since that time I've read numerous criticisms of his work and generally kept up on various scientific studies on the phenomena.

To top it off, I've actually had one out-of-body (OBE)experience. An OBE is not the same as an NDE, but the personal testimonials of these experiences contain similar elements.

Even though I've had an OBE, and it was remarkably "real-to-me" as well as strikingly memorable (the experience was 30 years ago), I am of the opinion that my essence or "soul" or mind or "energy" didn't really leave my body. I'm convinced I had a natural mind experience, somewhat akin to having an extremely vivid dream. I can, for instance, still clearly recall the details of and strong feelings generated by a couple of my childhood dreams. Of course, my opinion on NDEs is just based in part on of my own subjective interpretation of my OBE experience. I appreciate that different people sincerely interpret these types of things in different ways. I also appreciate that there is no adequate way to resolve differences of interpretations on highly subjective personal experiences.

I would suggest that perhaps the best and most well-rounded online synopsis on the topic of NDEs is available here: How Near-death Experiences Work. (Be sure to click on the next page links at the bottom of each page. The article goes on for several pages.)

Regardless, although I personally no longer believe in the supernatural, nor a continued conscious life after the death of the body, this site, above all, is intended for the encouragement of those leaving Christianity. Not all people leaving Christianity become atheists.

Scott and Samantha seem of the opinion that NDEs and other subjective experiences present clear evidence of life after death. Scott, having lost his son recently, probably has good reason for his current interest in the matter. Samantha also thinks she has good reason for her interest. Fine. I understand the reason for the interest and I personally don't mind if either Scott or Samantha cling to a belief in the hereafter. What I don't understand is the apparent need to convert those skeptical of the hereafter, nor do I completely comprehend an apparent intolerance of people who cling to a belief in a hereafter.

Anyway, that's my final two cents on this thread.

Cousin Ricky said...

Resurrection of the body was the first Christian belief of mine to go. It just wasn’t compatible with physical reality as i was beginning to understand it.

There are a couple of ironies as 1 Corinthians 15 relates to me. Paul wrote that if there is no resurrection, then Christians are to be pitied. That didn’t seem right to me, and awakened in me the ideal of living a good life for its own sake. This certainly eased my journey out Christianity. The second irony is that, if i’d read the chapter more carefully, i would have seen that Paul himself didn’t believe in a physical resurrection! Having not been aware of the arguments against non-physical consciousness, this understanding of immortality may well have postponed my final crisis of faith. Still, it wouldn’t have lasted forever; evidence was getting more and more elusive.

As differential as The Discovery Channel and its affiliates must be to their Protestant-majority audience, some of their programming can be hazardous to one’s faith. Near-death experiences can be induced by excessive G forces. Operating room out-of-body experiences never report anything that the patient couldn’t otherwise know. One experiment has a text message placed outside the patients’ line of sight; so far as i know, no disembodied patient has reported it. Jesus’s resurrection is given a naturalistic explanation, even without resorting to The Jesus Puzzle’s hypothesis that the whole story was pure mythology.

As hard as it was for me to swallow, i was forced to admit to myself that, one day, there will be no more “me.” The death knell for any hope of immortality came with a couple of articles[1][2] that showed conclusively that consciousness is a physical phenomenon. While Scott is correct in that we cannot explain consciousness, the evidence that we do have shows unequivocally that consciousness is bound to a functioning brain.

Notwithstanding any games with semantics and redefinitions, I must agree with Kent. There is no continuation of individual consciousness after death.

________________________

Somewhere in this thread, Carl Sagan’s moving words need to be posted:

“I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

“The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”
[3]

________________________

References:
[1] The Ebon Muser, “A Ghost in the Machine.”
[2] Hertzler, Merle, “Is There Life After Death?”
[3] Sagan, Carl, “In the Valley of the Shadow,” Parade Magazine, March 10, 1996.

Cousin Ricky said...

pekingjohn wrote: “We know that the hair, skin, and fingernails keep growing weeks after death.”

Actually, they don’t; the “growth” is an illusion. As the body dehydrates, the skin pulls back, revealing more of the roots of the hairs and nails. See Snopes article.

The law of conservation of matter applies. After death, skin, hair, and nails have no food supply. There is no new material for them to grow with.

pekingjohn said...

Cousin Ricky,
Thanks for the reminder. Actually, AtheistToothFairy was kind enough to correct me on this. I guess I fell for this misnomer too.

Enjjpt said...

Once upon a time I thought that the phrase, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" was the perfect example of how NOT to live. Since I have left any belief in an afterlife based on the complete lack of any credible evidence, that phrase has come to give me some purpose.

We need to live this life as best we can, because it is all we got. Dont put off that vacation, or going skydiving, or taking your wife to see Paris. Live each day like its your last, because eternity for me does not exist. Your mielage may vary...

--Chris

boomSLANG said...

Sconner/Scott...Boomslang,
Again, well said, very articulate. It only took you a couple of posts to call me a belligerent name


Scott, I ask you at this time to please notice that said response came in the wake of a entire paragraph of facetious "praise", dedicated just to me, from you. I merely "played along". And BTW, I notice that during your stint here, you've managed to call people "lazy" and "inept" for not concluding what you, Scott, have concluded about NDE's. Simply put: You are being somewhat hypocritical.

Sconner/Scott: -- a sign of a confident and polished debater.

Again, more of the same.

Look, I'm "confident" in what I do and don't believe, just like I presume you are. Admittedly, you say that the evidence that supports a "mind/body duality" is largely "anecdotal", even providing us, with yet, one more link with the words "near-death" in it:

Sconner: (Here are some testimonials, but again my contention is, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that consciousness, can continue outside the brain, the mind and the body, without being dead as well as being clinically dead.)
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence10.html
[bold added]

Anecdotal: adjective

1. Of, characterized by, or full of anecdotes.

2. Based on casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis: "There are anecdotal reports of children poisoned by hot dogs roasted over a fire of the [oleander] stems" (C. Claiborne Ray).


ref: American Heritage

Furthermore - and even if we play devil's advocate, and say that "overwhelming" is actually more than your opinion - we can see that UFOlogists insist the "evidence" for ET's mingling in the affairs of humans is "overwhelming". Bigfoot trackers insist that the "evidence" for domestic big-footed apes is "overwhelming", and so on, and so on.

Without becoming indignant, is it possible that you can see the point I'm trying to illustrate, here? Anecdotal, is anecdotal, no matter how "overwhelming" people think it is.

Honestly, I'm not hopeful that you will see my point, so I'll just say a few more things on this issue, and then be on my merry way:

Firstly, I'm not convinced. It's really that simple, as far as "debate" goes. As clearly as possible, I've given my reasons as to why I don't accept a "mind/body duality"... and, why I believe there is a perfectly natural explanation for these "experiences". IMO, the concept of an "immaterial" existence is a logical impossibility, just as a "square circle" is a logical impossibility. I know this might offend some; I know some will disagree---however, I cannot help that. This is my position, and until tests can be conducted where the results are consistantly repeatable; until such a hypothesis is testable/ falsifiable, I reject the idea that consciousness can exist independent of a healthy brain. No, I do not reject it "out-of-hand"; I base it on lack of credible, consistant, evidence.

Now that that's hopefully cleared up, on to my second point:

Anytime...repeat---ANY time someone loses a child, it is a tragic event... this, regardless of what they believe, or don't believe. No parent should have to bury their own child. The sad reality is, though, that someone loses a child every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day. My mother lost a son at age 16, who of course, would be my brother. Do I wish I can see him again? Um, yeah, of course I do. Likewise - and because I am fully cognizant that he is deceased - I also of course know that the one and ONLY way it "might happen", is later on...in a supposed "afterlife". Needless to say, that prospect looks very comforting, hopeful, and inviting on the surface. On the other hand, I will not waste precious time of the one life that I know I have, believing that reality will make an "exception" for lil' ol' me, simply because I want something to be true; simply because I find it comforting. Furthermore, I will not waste, nor "barter", the time available to me in the here-and-now, sitting here daily, longing to be with my deceased relatives, when I have all the memories I need, just a "thought" away.

exfundie said...

I'm currently reading a book about quantum physics. It details the many observations from studies of the electron. From what I understand of it, it does lend some probability to the fact that consciousness can transcend matter and energy. (or) in the writers words, "consciousness creates the material world." Anyway, it is at least interesting to read the hypotheses on consciousness. Other authors (like Sam Harris) have eluded to a spiritual side of life by stating that there have been some documented evidence that some people can diminish their individual sense of consciousness, and thereby better connect with the world around them. I don't know... its all theoretical, but when you take this former Christian that used to thank God everyday for heaven and eternal life... yes, I am scared shitless of dying. I just want to exist forever. Anyway, maybe that is why I hold on to hope that maybe consciousness can exist in some form beyond our bodies.

exfundie said...

I'm currently reading a book about quantum physics. It details the many observations from studies of the electron. From what I understand of it, it does lend some probability to the fact that consciousness can transcend matter and energy. (or) in the writers words, "consciousness creates the material world." Anyway, it is at least interesting to read the hypotheses on consciousness. Other authors (like Sam Harris) have eluded to a spiritual side of life by stating that there have been some documented evidence that some people can diminish their individual sense of consciousness, and thereby better connect with the world around them. I don't know... its all theoretical, but when you take this former Christian that used to thank God everyday for heaven and eternal life... yes, I am scared shitless of dying. I just want to exist forever. Anyway, maybe that is why I hold on to hope that maybe consciousness can exist in some form beyond our bodies.

sconnor said...

Boomslang,
I know what anecdote means, thank you. I am skeptical; I'm not banking on these, to see my son again. My feelings invariably get taken over by logic. You would think I would latch on to these, as gods honest truth, but I don't. I am painfully aware there can be a natural explanation to these experiences; that they can be, just merely, the theater of ones mind but from what little we know about the brain and specifically the mind -- or consciousness -- a decisive conclusion either way is not available to us and this is why research and studies continue.
I'm fairly sure, Boomslang, you have not studied NDEs at any great lengths and I'm sure you have used the argument against Christians, "how do you know your religion is the the only religion that possesses the truth? have you studied all the worlds religions, in depth so as to gain an understanding of their beliefs, culture and philosophies?

So, I ask you Boomslang, have you studied, at any great length, the history, study and research of NDEs? How is ones truth validated without the knowledge and understanding of other ideas?
Between you, boomslang, with a narrow and stereotypical view on NDEs and a neuroscientist with 28 years of NDE studies under his belt, I'm going to slightly lean to the guy with a tad, more experience.

You said, Scott, I ask you at this time to please notice that said response came in the wake of a entire paragraph of facetious "praise", dedicated just to me, from you. I merely "played along". And BTW, I notice that during your stint here, you've managed to call people "lazy" and "inept" for not concluding what you, Scott, have concluded about NDE's. Simply put: You are being somewhat hypocritical.

I would hardly categorize that paragraph as facetious; I would say it is more in the line of being sarcastic, satire, but it hardly gives you the right to call me a, little bitch-boy, nor does your rationalization of me, calling Kent "lazy" or "inept". You are in error; I did not call Kent "lazy" and "inept" because he didn't agree with my thoughts on NDEs. You should take the time to read the posts properly. Is this an indication of your superior, deductive, reasoning skills, again? Kent went to a site, with a wealth of information, on NDEs, OBEs, and how these people "perceived". He could have hit on, almost, any of the hundreds of testimonies and the information on how these people perceived, would have come pouring out, or he could of hit on People Born Blind Can See, People See Verified Events While Out-of-Body, The Only Compelling Proof Is Out-Of-Body Perception and Telepathy. I was justified, by his INABILITY to find the information, that was right under his nose -- he was either lazy or inept; or he simply didn't go to the site.
I am not little, I am an adult and I am not a malicious woman or female dog. You, shamelessly, called me, a little bitch boy, as nothing but an abusive insult, then you desperately tried to rationalize it and justify it, instead of honorably placing the blame on yourself for delivering a juvenile, schoolyard, low-blow.

You said, Furthermore, I will not waste, nor "barter", the time available to me in the here-and-now, sitting here daily, longing to be with my deceased relatives, when I have all the memories I need, just a "thought" away.

This rationalization, in no way, comforts me. I wouldn't wish this kind of torture on my worst enemy. Quite honestly if you have not had your child suffer in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, with, Bi-Paps, intubation, IVs, catheters, PIC lines, bone marrow aspirations, chemo treatments, only to watch your son die as they frantically try to revive him with CPR and ACLS, then you have no idea what a colossal and tragic loss this is -- not even if you repeat "anytime" and put it in bold-face.
There is absolutely nothing that comforts me, not even the notion that the consciousness can live outside the body. People who have had NDEs, have no idea, how lucky they are, because they KNOW there is an afterlife -- whether it is a dream, hallucination, figment of their imagination, the theater of ones mind or if it's real and they are one with the universe -- it doesn't matter, they are COMPLETELY CONVINCED and they can live the rest of there lives in comfort, not agonizing over the unimaginable death of their child.

Scott

AtheistToothFairy said...

INFO on NDE Research:

Mary Roach's current book "SPOOK" has a chapter about NDE research.

She speaks about a Bruce Greyson who assisted with NDE experiments in 2004, that used a laptop computer to display some screen animations within an operating room, out of sight from anyone who wasn't up near the ceiling to view these animations.

Bruce Greyson info: http://www.parapsych.org/members/c_b_greyson.html
Note: Bruce is one who truly wanted to find that NDE's were truly out of body experiences, but as best as I can tell, so far hasn't been able to confirm this theory of his.

Mary leaves off on this experiment by stating that Bruce is still waiting for any patient claiming to have had an NDE, to also have seen his animations on his 'hidden' laptop screen.

Mary Roach also notes (pg 266) that:

"Oxygen deprivation and the drugs used in anesthesia are commonly suggested, and indeed, both drugs and lack of oxygen can trigger elements of the near-death experience- including the tunnel and the light and the out-of-body experience--when death is not near.
Pot, Hash, LSD, Ketamine, Mescaline, and Fighter Pilot training blackouts have all been known to induce NDE-like experiences. Intense stress or emotional states have been cited, as have endorphins and seizures.


Here is more information on the laptop experiment etc..

http://skepdic.com/nde.html

Blackmore wrote that in 2004 but, as noted above, in 2006 scientists demonstrated brain activity in someone in a vegetative state, which is not identical to a flat EEG but which indicates that some machines might detect brain activity while others do not.* Thus, those researchers who claim that their patients have memories of experiences they had when they were dead (as Dr. Michael Saborn does of musician Pam Reynolds) may be mistaken. Just because their machines don't register anything cannot be taken as proof positive that a person is dead, nor can it be taken as proof positive that the patient isn't aware, on some level, of what is going on around her. Unconscious patients may hear what surgeons and nurses are saying, even if the hospital machines aren't registering any brain activity.......

One way to avoid contamination of stories has been developed by University of North Texas professor Dr. Jan Holden.* She designed an experiment in which a laptop computer that opens flat hangs from the ceiling with the screen facing away from the floor. Her husband developed a software program that produces a series of animations. If a patient claims to have been floating above her body on the operating table, then she ought to have seen the computer screen and be able to report on what she saw. Dr. Bruce Greyson has apparently been using this protocol for a few years but so far has not reported anything of interest.
--
As has been already pointed out here by various folks, there is no credible evidence so far, for NDE's being of an OBE nature.

In all my previous researching of things supernatural, I also had never read of a verifiable case of an OBE where the person who claimed this experience, was able to report back some learned unique fact they had during that experience, that would then offer proof the experience was one of them actually traveling outside their body to another location on earth; or in some cases other planets or galaxies had been cited as have been visited by them.
In all cases, the information the OBE person came 'back' with was either later proved to be wrong, or the information was too non-specific to be of any value in making a case for a real Out of Body Experience.

Given the sheer amount of people who lay claim to have OBE's frequently, and given that even contests have been arranged to find anyone who is able to obtain 'secret' information by using this OBE method (all have resulted in dismal failure), I think it's fairly safe to assume these things take place totally within one's own mind.

The way I see all this, is that this NDE/OBE belief is no different than many other desires to rest our strong fear, that the death of our body will also result in the death of our very existence.
Religion answers this inherent fear with it's promise of heaven or reincarnation etc., while many facets of the supernatural realm offer a promise of continued existence via their beliefs in ghost/spirits, ESP, OBE/NDE and the ability for living humans to make contact with the dead (such as John Edwards et al).

If one takes into account the vast quantity of time, people, and resources that have been put forth to confirm these supernatural beliefs over the eons, one would have to conclude that some darn good credible evidence would surely have turned up by now if such things were real, yet for some strange reason they continue to remain as "illusive" as that "butterfly" in that old song.


ATF (Who hasn't seen anyone yet bring forth the needed evidence, but they sure sell a lot of books trying to convince everyone they are 'onto something')

sconnor said...

In the end, it is probably a matter of personal preference whether to interpret the NDE as a glimpse of the life beyond or the product of the dying brain. In either case, the NDE DESERVES SERIOUS RESEARCH, and the dying, the recovering, and their relatives deserve to know what we have learned. As Morse (1994) put it, these experiences can help us to restore dignity and control to the dying process. Just as NDEs reduce the fear of death in the people who have them, so they can help all of us to accept death as a positive aspect of life. Indeed, the study of life at its last limits may tell us more about ourselves and our lives than it does about death. -- Susan Blackmore

boomSLANG said...

Sconner/Scott: Boomslang,
I know what anecdote means, thank you.


Now Scott, are you seriously "thanking" me?..or is this more facetiousness/"sarcasm" on your part? If the latter, and you, yourself, have a problem with others when they take an approach that you find undesirable, then I'd ask you to refain from it, as well. Fair enough?

Sconner/Scott: I'm not banking on these, to see my son again. My feelings invariably get taken over by logic. You would think I would latch on to these, as gods honest truth, but I don't. I am painfully aware there can be a natural explanation to these experiences

The first observation that comes to my mind, is that if you presumably know what "anecdotal evidence" means, and further, you admittedly remain skeptical that NDE's are conclusive evidence for an "afterlife", then why in creation are we having this discussion? In other words, how can you/why would you, in one breath, ask the following....

Sconner/Scott: "Boomslang, have you studied, at any great length, the history, study and research of NDEs?" (?)

...and then in another breath, tell me that you remain skeptical, as referenced, above?

To be thorough in my rebuttal, I'll ask you, again, point-blank:

Scott, are you skeptical that NDE's are conclusive evidence that there exists an "afterlife"?

If "yes", then what is it I'm not grasping about "NDE's" that you are so seemingly desperate for me, and others here, to "grasp"????

To elaborate on the point of my question further---we see that there around 30,000 or more denominations of Christianity. Okay, that said, must one who is skeptical of Christianity research every cotton-pickin' sect, split-off, tribe, denomination of Christianity before we can reject it at it's most basic, fundamental premise? Must I scour the internet looking for as many testimonials as I can find?(And I venture to say that there is just as much diversity among Christian "testimonies", as there is among NDE testimonies) And what about "links", Scott? Must I go to EVERY link that any Christian provides, and read the literature - word for word - before I can reject Christianity?

If you answer honestly, then we both know the answer to these questions.

Notwithstanding, I made what I thought was a crucial point in my previous post, regarding why I reject NDE's as conclusive evidence for an "afterlife". It is one of the same reasons I reject Christianity at it's most basic premise, and evidently, I need to say it once more:

boomslang: "I'm not convinced. It's really that simple, as far as "debate" goes. As clearly as possible, I've given my reasons as to why I don't accept a 'mind/body duality'... and, why I believe there is a perfectly natural explanation for these 'experiences'. IMO, the concept of an 'immaterial' existence is a logical impossibility, just as a "square circle" is a logical impossibility. I know this might offend some; I know some will disagree---however, I cannot help that. This is my position, and until tests can be conducted where the results are consistantly repeatable; until such a hypothesis is testable/ falsifiable, I reject the idea that consciousness can exist independent of a healthy brain. No, I do not reject it 'out-of-hand'; I base it on lack of credible, consistant, evidence."[bold added]

Sconner/Scott: I'm fairly sure, Boomslang, you have not studied NDEs at any great lengths and I'm sure you have used the argument against Christians, "how do you know your religion is the the only religion that possesses the truth? have you studied all the worlds religions, in depth so as to gain an understanding of their beliefs, culture and philosophies?

I addressed this above. And incidently, the answer to your hypothetical line of questioning is, no, I haven't studied, indepthly, "all the world's religions". Why?..have you? Again, what is the implication? Must one study all of the world's venomous snakes, species by species, to know that "venomous" snakes should be avoided?? No, of course not, much in the way that neither you, nor I, need to study each and every religious doctrine to know that there's no "Divine Baby-sitter" in the sky.

Sconner/Scott: Between you, boomslang, with a narrow and stereotypical view on NDEs and a neuroscientist with 28 years of NDE studies under his belt, I'm going to slightly lean to the guy with a tad, more experience.

Fantastic!!!!...do, just that, Scott. Put your faith/confidence in whatever authority gives you the most peace-of-mind. Furthermore, you are perfectly free to disagree with everything I've said, thus far. Now, is that freedom mutual?? To be honest, I'm not sure it is. In other words, hypothetically, if I were to thoroughly examine every link you've kindly given us, is there still a possibility that I could come back with a different conclusion than Scott? Or is that an impossibility? I'd like to know... really, I would.

Sconner/Scott, previously:

"Boomslang, First let me commend you on your razor-like dissection of NDEs; it is that of a skilled surgeon wielding his scalpel like a precision-tuned artist -- strawmen aren't part of your arsenal. And your grasp of the information is truly commanding and is a testament of your obvious expertise and colossal intellect. Overwhelmingly, you have conveyed and possess a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and indeed, your extensive study and scholarship in NDEs are amazingly apparent and profound. Your one-offs and conclusions are expertly and impressively relevant and exhaustively decisive. Great work, man, truly stellar work!"

Sconner/Scott follows up: I would hardly categorize that paragraph as facetious; I would say it is more in the line of being sarcastic, satire, but it hardly gives you the right to call me a, little bitch-boy...

So, okay then, you've made a distinction between "facetious", and "sarcastic". Either way, somewhere, you evidently aquired "the right" to dedicate said paragraph to me, pejoratively. As I said before, I merely "played along" in the wake of said comment. And for the record, I never called you any name. Using wit and "sarcasm"(which is evidently allowed) I merely implied the name in question by postulating that maybe you were actually serious in your praise of me, and therefore, I wouldn't call you said name.

Sconner/Scott: ...nor does your rationalization of me, calling Kent "lazy" or "inept".

Okay, in retrospect, at least you gave him a choice.

Sconner/Scott: You should take the time to read the posts properly. Is this an indication of your superior, deductive, reasoning skills, again?

Find me any post where I've extolled my "reasoning skills" as superior to yours, or anyone elses, and I'll retract the statement. Until then, such rants amount to thinly veiled ad hominem attacks. Ultimately, the person in question either, a) didn't see/find want you have intended for them to find, or b) they found, and disagreed, with whatever is was you wanted him to find. Equivocation on the specifics was/is irrelevant. And sure, perhaps he didn't go to the link at all, which, that's for him to say why.

Sconner/Scott: I am not little, I am an adult and I am not a malicious woman or female dog. You, shamelessly, called me, a little bitch boy, as nothing but an abusive insult, then you desperately tried to rationalize it and justify it, instead of honorably placing the blame on yourself for delivering a juvenile, schoolyard, low-blow

Okay, back to this again. Can you tell me with a straight face, Scott, that your thinly-veiled analysis of my prose and my arguments wasn't meant to "insult" me? Good grief, I see a double standard going on.

Previously, I said: "Furthermore, I will not waste, nor 'barter', the time available to me in the here-and-now, sitting here daily, longing to be with my deceased relatives, when I have all the memories I need, just a 'thought' away.

To which Sconner/Scott responds...This rationalization, in no way, comforts me. I wouldn't wish this kind of torture on my worst enemy.

FYI, I wasn't offering my view on this as a recommendation, nor conditionally. What comforts someone is purely subjective. I know, for myself, I certainly wouldn't trade the memories of those I've lost -as painful as they sometimes are - for a mindset that they never existed at all. That cheats me, as well as them...because I know they'd want me to remember them. But then again, that's just me.

AtheistToothFairy said...

exfundie wrote:
I'm currently reading a book about quantum physics. It details the many observations from studies of the electron. From what I understand of it, it does lend some probability to the fact that consciousness can transcend matter and energy. (or) in the writers words, "consciousness creates the material world."
-----
Exfundie,

I sure would like to know which 'quantum physics' book you are reading, exfundie?
I'm betting it's one more in tune with the world of pseudo-sciences?

As far as our consciousness or any form of human-supplied-energy, having an ability to directly affect matter goes; outside of the one hundred watts of heat we produce and the very low levels of electricity, I know of no other form of human energy that has been shown to influence matter (external) without actually touching it in some physical manner.

For some common examples (that many have tried out) to bolster my statement, we need only look at the many many studies done where one tries to use their 'mind' to influence something about the material world.

1. Levitation:

Outside of some really cool magic shows we all love to watch, no study has ever shown where one can move a physical object by using their mind's energy.
Yes, there have been a plethora of hoaxes throughout the ages, but I have yet to see even a single case that has been verified by skeptics where true levitation has occurred.
I believe I can safely assert that levitation is the stuff of magic shows alone.

2. The ability to influence the natural outcome of something:

You can actually download computer programs from the internet that will allow you to try your hand at influencing what result your computer will render.
Such computer programs will pick an answer/object from a list of such, depending on what type of program you download etc..
The idea is for you to use your mind to 'force' the computer to pick the answer/object you wish it to. If you can do this beyond the expectations of chance alone, then you would have shown your mind can indeed influence your computer.

(Some programs can also be downloaded that will test your ability for ESP as well)

Outside of computer programs, many test have been performed using more physical objects, where one is to use their mind to affect some object in a subtle way.

A more common test is to affect the needle of a compass, but sadly, a simple hidden magnet is all too good at mimicking the power of the 'mind' in this regard, as the famous spoon bender, Uri Geller, found out not so long ago.
See http://video.aol.com/video-detail/uri-geller-fake-uri-geller-beim-betrugen-entarnt/3674672182

There are many types of invented mental test that have tried to show evidence that the human mind can directly influence even some tiny piece of the world around us, but not a single "success" has ever been shown to be legit.
If someone truly had such an ability, I'm VERY sure James Randi would have had to pay out that million bucks by now.

So with all the 'research' that has been invested into showing our minds can affect material things, we have yet to hear of a single verifiable successful test being performed.

As far as our minds ability to influence another human mind in a remote manner, this also has no evidence to show it is possible to do so.

How many folks have tried to transmit a single thought to another person who had been put out of any direct contact with the person doing the transmitting; only to once again realize nothing but failure.

The old idea that one could use Voodo to rid oneself of an enemy, also isn't anything supernatural, as the only time it seems to affect the victim is when the victim knows this ritual is being done to him/her.
e.g. if one has no idea another is poking sharp needles into a Voodo doll, made in one's likeness, then it has zero affect on the intended victim.
The reason some have believed it worked in the past, is because of the sheer fear of the victim in having a strong belief that it could indeed work-as-advertised.

So if our minds can't influence objects and other people's minds in a physically disconnected manner, then one has to also now wonder about this energy of consciousness and it's possible inherent properties.

Because our brains function with the same properties as those of mammals, one would then have to speculate that mammals also have a consciousness that can "transcend matter and energy".
Agreed?

If that is the case, then it wouldn't take our superior human intelligence to transfer our consciousness from ourselves into some other 'vessel', as clearly a mammal's mind would also undergo this transfer without it actually understanding the process in the least.

Now one has to do a whole lot of speculating as to why our consciousness would consist of more than the chemical/electric activity of the physical brain we already well understand.
Our memories are stored in a very physical way in our brains, much as a computer also stores it's programs and data in a physical manner, either on the hard disk or in volatile RAM.
If one shuts off the power, the memory stored in RAM is gone and one will never find it transferred itself to another computer's RAM, right.
If one isn't careful with stored data on a hard disk, it can easily be overwritten or erased, but again, it won't be transferred in some unknown fashion to another hard disk that happens to be in the same room etc..

Our brains function pretty much the same way, in that if we suffer a physical injury to our brains, something gets lost from that injury, either memory or a function etc..
There is nothing obvious beyond the physical brain that maintains those memories or functions, so if the brain dies, so do the functions and memories, along with the brain.

While quantum physics does have some pretty strange qualities about the way things work at that level of existence, it would be a huge leap at this point to assume it would hold the magic key to carrying on our consciousness to another existence or plane thereof etc..

Has anyone come up with a solid theory how such a transfer might be accomplished?
Has anyone done any type of verifiable experiments to show that the consciousness of one person was moved into another person upon death?
To the contrary, all the studies I've read on things like reincarnation, have not been able to show even one verifiable case where such a 'mind' transfer has happened.

[[Yes AEB, it did happen to Spock, but that is only possible in the special universe of Star Trek...haha]]

While it's clear that we can't destroy matter (or energy), that would apply to matter in it's simpler forms. Your brain is made up of 'complex' matter and can easily be reduced to some basic elements, which is exactly what will happen when you die.
So if this process occurs, then the places your former 'self' had been stored within your brain, would no longer exists in it's former form, but gravitate to far more simpler elements.
This means that your consciousness would have to abandon-ship long before your brain had a chance to begin it's return to those more simple elements.
By what mechanism can we speculate that such a process would occur by?

Obviously, the religious answer to this question would be a soul/spirit.
However, no one has yet been able to prove such a soul exists within us.
If such a soul did exists, then it would have to defy all natural laws we know about today.

Why should we at this point in our knowledge of the universe, leap to a conclusion that has no basis in the known reality of how things works, merely because many of us have an emotional desire to continue our existence in some form or another.
It is truly this inherent desire that propagates the speculation and abounding theories, that make so many reach a conclusion that we 'must' live on, some way, some how.

So one can do all the mental gymnastics one wishes to, in order to self-delude oneself into reaching that endless-life conclusion, but one has a long long ways to go to actually be able to prove it in any empirical fashion.

The best one can appease oneself with, in this regard, is that old standby answer of FAITH.

Now if you (or anyone) can produce a viable theory that would show the mechanism whereby this transfer of our intelligence and/or memories, occurs upon death, well, I'm all ears to hear about it.


ATF (Who would be more than happy to find evidence of your theory, but alas, doesn't believe anything extraordinary like this, on mere faith alone)

sconnor said...

Boomslang,
There is no conclusive evidence that NDEs or mystical experiences or OBEs are experiences of an afterlife.
There is no conclusive evidence that NDEs or mystical experiences or OBEs are experiences of the theater of the mind.
We don't have empirical evidence either way, nor all the information, and for either of us to presume to know and to claim a definitive and absolute conclusion would be arrogant and self-serving.
When it comes to the mystery of the brain and consciousness no one has the truth -- all bets are off.

If Kent went to the site and didn't find what was plainly there, then he was lazy or inept. If he went to the site and reported he had found explanations for perception and he didn't agree with them, I would not have called him lazy or inept, but this doesn't matter because he -- for some reason said he "missed it", which is in direct contradiction to your assertion that I was calling him names because I didn't agree with him, which also brought into question your deductive reasoning.

You also, erroneously, assumed I was one of your Christian foes. It's completely obvious, that it wasn't my biting sarcasm but a rush to judgment, that I was a self-righteous Christian zealot who makes the extraordinary claim of holding the all-illusive truth. You can make all your rationalized, justifications that you were playing along or you were offended and I bruised your fragile ego, pointing out your 4-5word original conclusions were trite and misinformed assumptions, but what you plainly demonstrated is your absolute intolerance and hatred for Christians by going for the jugular and coming out with both guns blazing, shooting at me with the derogatory name -- LITTLE BITCH BOY.

It's amazing you are just as certain that the mind is responsible for these extraordinary experiences as the Christian is certain of the one and only truth. Go figure.

boomSLANG said...

Dear Sconner/Scott,

You might not have noticed - likely, because you're too busy being incensed and offended - but I, and others, namely ATF, raised some good questions/points regarding this whole subject of "NDE's", and the andecdotal evidence on which said experiences are founded. You evidently have zero intentions of finding any common ground with which to continue this discussion. No, it seems to me that you are much more focused on trying to justify your own onslaught of thinly-veiled ad hominem 'satires', a tactic that appears to be a last resort since encountering a group of people who refuse to accept "NDE's" as evidence for an "afterlife"....or for that matter, people who refuse to accept anything else on 'faith'. (BTW, your comparing my position to that of "Christian" is laughable)

Additionally - and by your own admission - you say that "nothing comforts" you. Wow. Again, no astonishing disclosure there. But interestingly, for some unknown reason you continue to hang out here. That tells me that you are getting some kind of "pay-off".

And speaking of "fragile egos", good grief, I think it's self-evident who's got one of those. For someone who's been through so much emotional trauma, it seems your ego would be impervious to such frivilous things as "juvenial, schoolyard" afronts. Yet, you still harp on it with each and every post. I'm just glad you can't read my mind, or you'd be stuck in fetal position the rest of your life.

In any event, I'll wager you'll need to have the last word in this, so we should probably let you have it. So go ahead, prove me right.

One-Eyed Jack said...

Sconner, just another perspective.

On "Lucid Dreaming":

"1.1 WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?

Lucid dreaming means dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. The term was coined by Frederik van Eeden who used the word "lucid" in the sense of mental clarity. Lucidity usually begins in the midst of a dream when the dreamer realizes that the experience is not occurring in physical reality, but is a dream. Often this realization is triggered by the dreamer noticing some impossible or unlikely occurrence in the dream, such as flying or meeting the deceased. Sometimes people become lucid without noticing any particular clue in the dream; they just suddenly realize they are in a dream. A minority of lucid dreams (according to the research of LaBerge and colleagues, about 10 percent) are the result of returning to REM (dreaming) sleep directly from an awakening with unbroken reflective consciousness.

The basic definition of lucid dreaming requires nothing more than becoming aware that you are dreaming. However, the quality of lucidity can vary greatly. When lucidity is at a high level, you are aware that everything experienced in the dream is occurring in your mind, that there is no real danger, and that you are asleep in bed and will awaken shortly. With low-level lucidity you may be aware to a certain extent that you are dreaming, perhaps enough to fly or alter what you are doing, but not enough to realize that the people are dream representations, or that you can suffer no physical damage, or that you are actually in bed."

"1.2 IS LUCID DREAMING THE SAME AS DREAM CONTROL?

Lucidity is not synonymous with dream control. It is possible to be lucid and have little control over dream content, and conversely, to have a great deal of control without being explicitly aware that you are dreaming. However, becoming lucid in a dream is likely to increase the extent to which you can deliberately influence the course of events. Once lucid, dreamers usually choose to do something permitted only by the extraordinary freedom of the dream state, such as flying.

You always have the choice of how much control you want to exert. For example, you could continue with whatever you were doing when you became lucid, with the added knowledge that you are dreaming. Or you could try to change everything--the dream scene, yourself, other dream characters. It is not always possible to perform "magic" in dreams, like changing one object into another or transforming scenes. A dreamer's ability to succeed at this seems to depend a lot on the dreamer's confidence. As Henry Ford said, "Believe you can, believe you can't; either way, you're right." On the other hand, it appears there are some constraints on dream control that may be independent of belief. See "Testing the Limits of Dream Control: The Light and Mirror Experiment" for more on this."

"1.3 HOW ARE LUCID DREAMS RELATED TO OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES (OBEs)?

A mysterious and highly controversial phenomenon sometimes occurs in which people experience the compelling sensation that they have somehow "left their bodies." The "out-of-body experience" or "OBE", as this fascinating phenomenon is usually termed, takes a variety of forms. In the most typical, you are lying in bed, apparently awake, when suddenly you experience a range of primarily somatic sensations, often including vibrations, heaviness, and paralysis. Then you experience the vivid sensation of separating from your "physical body" in what feels like a second body, often floating above the bed.

It is important to note the distinction between the phenomenal reality of the OBE and the various interpretations of the experience. What is really happening when you feel yourself "leaving your body"? According to one school of thought, what is actually happening is just what it feels like: you are moving in a second body out of and away from your physical body--in physical space. But this "explanation" doesn't hold up very well under examination. After all, the body we ordinarily feel ourselves to be (or if you like, to inhabit) is a phenomenal or mental body rather than a physical body. The space we see around us is not physical space as "common sense" tells us, but as modern psychology makes clear, a phenomenal or mental space. In general, our consciousness is a mental model of the world.

OBE enthusiasts promote lucid dreaming as a "stepping stone" to the OBE. Conversely, many lucid dreamers have had the experience of feeling themselves "leave the body" at the onset of a lucid dream. From a laboratory study, we have concluded that OBEs can occur in the same physiological state as lucid dreams. Wake-initiated lucid dreams (WILDs) were three times more likely to be labeled "OBEs" than dream initiated lucid dreams. If you believe yourself to have been awake, then you are more likely to take the experience at face value and believe yourself to have literally left your physical body in some sort of mental or "astral" body floating around in the "real" physical world. If, on the other hand, you think of the experience as a dream, then you are likely to identify the OBE body as a dream body image and the environment of the experience as a dream world. The validity of the latter interpretation is supported by observations and research on these phenomena."
http://www.lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ2.html#LD

Lucid dreaming allows a person to experience the Universe, without learned restrictions; gravity, mass, size, speed, places, etc. A person finds the total freedom to move and experience anything their mind wants or needs to go. It allows a person to contemplate on how life; is, will be, can be, might be, if the principles we accept in our physical Universe were found to be non-absolute.

The experiences that occur are liberating and offer ultimate freedom; there is a shift from the everyday perception of what a person can't do, to an unlimited potential to do "anything".

A good example that one may be able to relate to; is using the movie Matrix. Lucid dreaming, combined with vividness and dream control, gives the perception of being neo in first person, not able to see himself, but able to logically manipulate everything and anything at will - different scenes, places, people, events, etc.

What one may contemplate is this; if we can only understand our Universe in terms of a mental construction that we are aware of (consciousness) and only with the limited knowledge we hold; then our consciousness becomes our tie into this Universe in our state of being, whether it is as we construct or not in totality. Seeing beyond our constructions, by ignoring accepted physical restrictions, allows a person to "live" an alternative mental construction.

While perceiving Reality, from multiple constructs as real experiences; one becomes open to the suggestion that all that "is" at this moment, is only the way it "is" (perceptively), because we limit it and can't see the hidden potential of what may be possible.

In any event, science is corrected over and over and new discoveries are made all the time; rejecting previously held absolute principles, and allowing for an ever widening vision of possibility for those who are open to accepting a Reality with endless potential.

Regarding the afterlife; what is the current life, is it physical only, is it our mental construct of reality only; does it require a balance of awareness of the two so that mental construction can continue if we are able to make responsible decisions regarding physical maintenance of our body and environment so that we can continue to exist in this current form.

There have been a few threads discussing what "life" was, and what it meant. I will not try to define it here "Absolutely" for anyone, but I will offer what I believe to be true based upon my current perception of reality based on my own experiences.

In having lucid dreams, one becomes conscious of endless possibility. Science attempts to understand current states, but doesn't involve itself much into making Absolute statements regarding transitional possibilities.

For instance; H2O is considered the molecular make-up of water, however, with the divorce of one hydrogen atom in this relationship, we get OH- which is alcohol. While science, will give a state of matter a name, it does not typically suggest that water is alcohol with additional hydrogen added.

The point here, is that, the study of "potential", in a Universal sense is a complex subject spanning all areas of academia.

I mentioned to Kent at the first post I made, that there is at least transference going on when a plant dies and becomes the new potential for a new life form.

Our lives, our Universe, and everything I know at this moment, is totally subject to change, because I don't know the limits of "potential" that exist in our Universe. I can say that something "is", but only in terms of my ability to communicate a local effect, and not in relation to a greater sphere of reality than I hold. I can say something "was", but only in context of a more limited sphere of reality.

But, to think of the afterlife and what something "can be", or has the "potential" to be, requires much more knowledge than I believe we hold amongst the totality of humanity.

I agree with Aristotle's view regarding the Universe; it is "pure potential". We can say a dog isn't a cat, and that is true, but can we say that a dog can't become a cat? We can attempt to restrict the amount of time and genetic changes that make them different, but given no restriction of time and resources, what's to suggest that there isn't the possibility that the current generational form of dog, can't transform eventually to the form of a cat known today...

This principle of potential is the underlying basis for the theory of evolution, etc.

What "I" currently perceive, is that the entirety of the Universe/Nature holds the value of "P". And, we are "all", every little speck of the Universe, no matter how big or small, no matter what form or substance, an attribute of "P", perceived in our current form as "p".

While science and many other fields have not been able to "predict" the limits of "P", they study what currently is and has been, in order to see possibilities.

I'll note here, that "religions" because of their authoritative nature and in competition with all of the "other" religions; claim to "know" with an Absolute Certainty what "P" represents, and the limits of "P" - based on some three letter "word", that exists beyond and separate than "P".

Science seeks knowledge of "P", while religions deny "P".

Religions must inherently deny "P", in order to assert Authoritative Absolutes. However, each time a religion or religious leader suggests they have some Authoritative Absolute and put it down on paper, they are in jeopardy of having their bottoms handed to them from science - And they have, Christianity has been spanked so many times, by science, it has become a favorite pastime and hobby for many.

Looking beyond the myopic mind of some authoritative religious leader who seeks political ambition, using illogical statements as their tool of leadership, let's review how I perceive the loss of my child.

Is my child in heaven? I answer, what's heaven? Is my child in hell? I answer, what's hell? Is my child sitting in some purgatory, or limbo? I answer, not sure, can I get something objective to work from, other than the rhetoric?

So, looking beyond those religious minds, that attempt to restrict "P", so they can claim some authority over my life and mind; I think in terms of my loss of a child in terms of "P", something I know "exists" for a "fact".

My child, was a transformation in my life, a manifested potential I didn't quite expect, and while my child was alive they were a welcome attribute and joy in my life.

While my child existed, they were part of "P", but restricted to their form, and with limitations... since, they have passed, the restrictions no longer exist, the total sum of my child was returned to "P".

I can mentally "construct" what it "may be" like for something to "exist" in terms of pure "P", while in a controlled lucid dream state, but I must accept that this construction is only something I have created in terms of possibility without knowledge, I can not deny that it is part of my experience, even if only subjectively perceived.

However, I am much more open to allowing for my ignorance of the Universe, and "P", than to slamming the door of Potential as religion would require. My level of education and experience in life has undeniably shown "P", through our visual observation of "change" - even if so slow as to be almost indiscernible.

I accept my child, as a personal blessing in my life as they transformed my perception of reality, yet, I accept they have returned to "P", the pure potential of our Universe.

When I get sympathies regarding my child, and our loss; I tend to think that I am, and never will be, entirely separated from my child or anything else for that matter, as we all represent "P" in a variety of forms.

I take solace, that the child I had, was a particular manifestation within "P", where I was able to bring into existence an extension of my family.

My child will always be a part of my memories, but... my child was and always will be "more" than just a memory to me - they are me, and I them. In terms of billions of years, our biological lives would appear to someone who is able to capture such a big-picture Universal view, as almost instantaneously lit as it is extinguished. Yet, we don’t ponder ourselves in terms of dying more everyday from the moment we are born – what compels us to believe that something is more or less just/valuable, by the amount of time we spend in our forms here… such notions are based purely on our perceptions, values and expectations.

It was religion that gave me the false expectation that we are to live our lives in our present form state, but in soul format, for all eternity in a place that is devoid of “P”.

I hope you find the answers you seek in life, but they will be based on experiences and what you are able to mentally construct. Take care.

sconnor said...

boomslang,
Evidently you can't find any common ground either. You claim you know it is the theater of ones mind and you have "good" points, when you've got shit. The brain and the mind are a mystery and no one has cornered the market on it -- you are just as delusional as your Christian foes. The only person in this discussion who is on common ground is me. I don't claim the truth, either way, I don't dismiss it out of hand, either way, you do, I'm open to it either way.

I justify my my thinly veiled satires while you justify your outright derogatory, juvenile, last resort, Christian biased, name calling, by referring to me as A LITTLE BITCH-BOY

You said, Additionally - and by your own admission - you say that "nothing comforts" you. Wow. Again, no astonishing disclosure there. But interestingly, for some unknown reason you continue to hang out here. That tells me that you are getting some kind of "pay-off".

Spare me your Jr. psychological analysis. I come here to learn. I come here to discover how people think about Christianity. I learn about how Christians justify their delusion of a personal god. And now I'm seeing how the other side, justifies their world-views too. If that's the pay off; I'm good with that.

And speaking of "fragile egos", good grief, I think it's self-evident who's got one of those. For someone who's been through so much emotional trauma, it seems your ego would be impervious to such frivilous things as "juvenial, schoolyard" afronts. Yet, you still harp on it with each and every post. I'm just glad you can't read my mind, or you'd be stuck in fetal position the rest of your life.

Yeah, go with that rationalization. My son dies, so I can't be offend and defend myself from a belligerent, arrogant, know-it all. And I'm glad I can't read your mind, I'm sure it is a dark, disturbed and hateful, place. An yet you still are playing the proverbial harp and continue bang on it as well.

You said, In any event, I'll wager you'll need to have the last word in this, so we should probably let you have it. So go ahead, prove me right.

This is a tactic as well, when you think you have it all figured out and you grow bored, this is a good way to get people off your back.

Anyway, right back at ya, big boy, I'll wager you'll need to have the last word in this and you'll rationalize it, as to why, so we should probably let you have it. So go ahead, prove me right.

Ateisttoothfairy said...

One-Eyed Jack wrote:
Then you experience the vivid sensation of separating from your "physical body" in what feels like a second body, often floating above the bed.......
If you believe yourself to have been awake, then you are more likely to take the experience at face value and believe yourself to have literally left your physical body in some sort of mental or "astral" body floating around in the "real" physical world


Hi One-Eyed Jack and ALL,

What you describe here is somewhat similar to something else that is also sleep related...Alien Abduction Beliefs.

Most who make a claim that aliens paid them a visit, or even abducted them, either were in bed or in another situation where they were very tired at the time.
In both cases here, the claim is usually made that they were "fully awake" when the incident transpired.

If they had been in bed, they were sure they woke up before the event took place.
Oddly enough, they see no problem with later waking up in bed, as they will believe the aliens simply returned them to their bed in a sleep condition.

Other common occurrences take place when one is driving (or biking) while overtired.
The overtired mind in this case can easily make one misinterpret what one is experiencing and if one is prone to a belief in aliens and spaceships, those things can magically appear.

In the bed scenario, the common complaints are that the victim is unable to move and any calls for help go unheard by one's partner etc..

If one understands that the human body protects itself when sleeping by causing a type of paralysis in certain stages of sleep, then it makes sense if one tries to move about during this dream stage, one would find themselves unable to do so.
I've actually experienced this paralysis myself when in a state of what feels like half-awake and half-dreaming; but dang-it no aliens showed up for me [g].

During this paralysis stage, one may also feel they are screaming at the top of their lungs, when in fact one is many times only making soft unintelligible sounds.
I've also had this experience myself during an intense nightmare, where I thought I was screaming really loud at some-thing, but in fact, was told by my wife that I wasn't making a loud sound at all.
So I'm fairly convinced that our vocal chords become partially paralyzed as well during this stage of sleep.

Before the more modern age of folks having a belief in UFO and Aliens and their abductions of us, it was more common for folks to believe that other mystical creatures were paying them a visit in their beds, sometimes even taking them from their beds and returning them at some later time.

It seems whatever mystical thing happens to be in vogue in society, is the thing that is then responsible for such bedroom events.

So given how common it is for some folks to truly believe that some alien abducted them for the common purpose of doing some sexual experimentation on them (and I actually have known a few of these folks), then it does not surprise me in the least that some folks who are prone to believe they can travel about, outside their physical bodies, would have vivid dreams of doing exactly that at times.

They would FEEL they are removed from their bodies, that they float above their physical bodies and some would dream they ventured to places far outside their own bedrooms.
Dreams of floating and even flying, are very commonplace and how many of us can say we never had a dream of flying?
How many kids in the era I grew up in, failed to have a dream where they were superman or some other flying super hero of that era.

I therefore am forced to conclude that having 'dreams' where one has a feeling they are floating over their body or traveling about the world; all while defying gravity and other earthly forces, are merely just having vivid dreams instead.

The proof of the pudding here to assert these events are not just works of the mind, but are reality of some form, would be for such a traveling/floating person to discover some fact during their travels that is very specific and couldn't have been known otherwise.

I have yet to see a single bonified study where it was confirmed a sleeping person had been paying a visit to another location.
All the evidence I've ever read about, is the same type of evidence we have for any miracles folks make a claim for, and that evidence is one of stories told and their resulting "urban legends".

Given how frequent these OBE's seem to be amongst the world population, surely by now we would have many examples of positive proofs that such OBE's have indeed occurred.
Why is it then that this credible evidence is still sorely lacking?????

Should the common woo-woo excuse be used, that such things do not occur when a skeptic happens to be around at the moment. Some believe that the mere presence of a skeptic, results in the skeptic giving off some weird type of energy (for their aura?) that counteracts the mystical event from taking place. Yeah, sure!!

Isn't it far more likely that the reason such things don't work when the skeptic is there, is because he/she is making sure the data isn't being skewed to suit the believers of such.
I can tell you that believers have a unique way of keying in on anything that seems to support their idea, all while ignoring anything that indicates the opposite.
That is the more innocent type of data corruption, but we also have many who intentionally skew the data to favor the results they wish to obtain.

Funny isn't it, but don't many xtians suffer the same problems of analyzing their own claims of mystical events occurring, but of course, in their case, it's always a god-did-it thing.

Until someone can show me with more than hearsay evidence and legend, that OBE's are what some claim them to be, then I will not conclude they are of reality, just because I might have a wish that they are real.

I once long ago, put great faith in both the xtian god and many things supernatural, only to discover that none of these things were real and most were cruel hoaxes.

To believe in such things without any proof, is to grow a fantastical talent at deceiving oneself, nothing more.
Thanks, but I prefer to keep my two feet on the ground these days and will continue to do so until the evidence for something supernatural becomes overwhelming.
Until that day, I'll comfort myself in knowing that I got to be a part of the natural universe and played a part in it's long story.
When I'm gone, I hope I've made some difference in the future of my kids, and some part of this human world.

As was said here before, I didn't know that I would one day exist, and when I'm gone I will not realize that I'm no longer a participant of life either.
If I'm wrong and there is some form of an afterlife or we get reborn into a new human life, then so be it.
Obvioulsy, such things would be out of my control and no, the xtian religion certainly would not provide the answers to this ultimate question of our continuing existence.

Religion is nothing but a grand excuse to both control people and to give a false hope that a unhappy existence now, will be rewarded by something wonderful after we die.
This false hope sure has the means to keep the unhappy/poor people from rebelling against suppressive leaders, so it sure makes sense that leaders support religion for that reason, if no other.

I sometimes wonder if some governments of this world try to not disprove the supernatural, because like religion, it offers eternal hope for many, and again, keeps folks from rebelling.
I could cite the non-UFO incident of Roswell to bolster my theory about this, but it's unprovable, so why bother to speculate about it here.

For you folks who wish to maintain a belief in some god or other things supernatural, then be my guest, but please don't state such things as being factual until you can prove to us they are real.

Mere faith and wishful thinking alone, in something of the extraordinary, just doesn't cut-it for me!!!


ATF (Who plans on visiting Saturn's Rings during tonight's ritual OBE.....NOT)