Mod+ 254. HOWARD STORM TRANSFORMED BY NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

#43
And for the true disbelievers, nothing would be enough.
I hear this same hyperbolic claim made over and over again in these discussions. It is incredibly easy to imagine any number of ways "true disbelievers" could be convinced. Reliably consistent veridical information from OBE's, for one example, would do the trick, I'm sure.

Though their standards of proof may not necessarily jibe with your own, and they may have significant blind spots/biases that interfere with their ability to evaluate evidence in an objective way, and they may indeed be politically motivated, I'm sure they absolutely could be convinced. It would just take a ton more evidence than it probably did with you. In the end, exaggerating the position of the "disbeliever" and his standards of proof just drives the wedge in deeper, which is a pet peeve of mine, even if I think I understand your motivation to do so...

edit: I just realized that I posted this is a part of the forum that has been walled off from certain posters who have effectively been branded "true disbelievers". As such, I think I will start a thread about this (when I get back from work) in the other part of the forum that is for open discussions.
 
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#44
I think Pam Raynolds case is proven hard enough for anyone but the true disbelievers to accept. And for the true disbelievers, nothing would be enough. So, I think, we should allow Robert Spetzler some rest. He has been telling this story in the very minor detail for years - enough to be heard by anyone who wants to listen.
"And for the true disbelievers, nothing would be enough" Yep but they have behaved so appallingly I would like to see them shut up amen.

As for Doctor Spetzler, I don't think he'd mind, personally but of course I can't know that even if I asked him.
 
#45
I hear this same hyperbolic claim made over and over again in these discussions. It is incredibly easy to imagine any number of ways "true disbelievers" could be convinced. Reliably consistent veridical information from OBE's, for one example, would do the trick, I'm sure.
I'm less sure! One of the best documented types of OBE ar those that people have while having a cardiac arrest in hospital! Typically these people report details of their resuscitation from a location near the ceiling! Tests have been done comparing their knowledge of the procedures with others asked to imagine the process. These people have recoded particular mannerisms of the medical staff, etc etc.

All of this is dismissed out of hand because maybe the patient was still able to hear while without a heartbeat! Hearing might make some sense, but how does someone in that condition enjoy an overhead view of events!

The fundamental problem is that science does not handle evidence for ψ phenomena in the same was as it handles ordinary scientific evidence. It demands unassailable perfection before it accepts even one piece of evidence - that way evidence can never stack up over time.

The very fact that NDE's happen almost defies conventional explanation. I mean who would imagine that the brain of someone in that condition can be creating the most amazing, life changing drama when the person has already lost consciousness because little or no blood is reaching their brain!

Remember also, that when Alex makes remarks of this sort, he started out more even handed but caught out a number of famous skeptics - either because they had twisted the truth (e.g. Wiseman) or because they simply didn't know the NDE evidence - never mind whether they agreed with it.

Maybe Alex should provide a set of links for newcomers to this site to explain why he and others take the view they now do!

David
 
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#46
atheism-as-we-know-it is absurd... just like science-as-we-know-it is absurd because it's married to this idea that you are your brain living a meaningless illusion of a life.
You have said many times how ridiculous you think it is for one to believe they are a "biological robot". Personally, I don't see anything ridiculous about a belief that perhaps there is enough complexity in our biology that could result in a sense of consciousness. (I can't explain how that would happen,,, but then again you can't explain how it happens in a non-physical environment either)

Just because one doesn't understand how flesh and blood could give rise to the experience of an orange, or happiness, (or whatever experience you want to mention) doesn't mean it can't happen. For example- my mother can't fathom how her iPad works, but that doesn't mean anything. Her inability to comprehend a complicated system is a reflection of her ignorance and has no bearing on whether it is possible. To her, it's magic,, and that's fine,,, but that doesn't MAKE it magic.

Here's the thing- I agree with you about your view of the nature of what we are. I just don't share your utter astonishment that most people are of a different opinion.

Hell, 10 years ago I was totally on board with humans being "biological robots", and I was a pretty well informed and educated, and open-minded person. I was just not familiar with all the available data.
 
#47
I'm less sure! One of the best documented types of OBE ar those that people have while having a cardiac arrest in hospital! Typically these people report details of their resuscitation from a location near the ceiling! Tests have been done comparing their knowledge of the procedures with others asked to imagine the process. These people have recoded particular mannerisms of the medical staff, etc etc.

All of this is dismissed out of hand because maybe the patient was still able to hear while without a heartbeat! Hearing might make some sense, but how does someone in that condition enjoy an overhead view of events!

The fundamental problem is that science does not handle evidence for ψ phenomena in the same was as it handles ordinary scientific evidence. It demands unassailable perfection before it accepts even one piece of evidence - that way evidence can never stick up over time.

The very fact that NDE's happen almost defies conventional explanation. I mean who would imagine that the brain of someone in that condition can be creating the most amazing, life changing drama when the person has already lost consciousness because little or no blood is reaching their brain!

Remember also, that when Alex makes remarks of this sort, he started out more even handed but caught out a number of famous skeptics - either because they had twisted the truth (e.g. Wiseman) or because they simply didn't know the NDE evidence - never mind whether they agreed with it.

Maybe Alex should provide a set of links for newcomers to this site to explain why he and others take the view they now do!

David
Great post, like the throwing of a perfectly aimed dart without even trying
 
#48
Why does consciousness have to be derived from non-physical stuff, to be considered "real" ?

Because there is no way to create consciousness from physical stuff because we don't know what consciousness is... and we have no idea how to predict at what level of neuronal activity consciousness emerges. Intelligence is not consciousness. And consciousness can function when the neurons are not working and consciousness can function when 95 % of the brain is missing.





 
#49
You have said many times how ridiculous you think it is for one to believe they are a "biological robot". Personally, I don't see anything ridiculous about a belief that perhaps there is enough complexity in our biology that could result in a sense of consciousness. (I can't explain how that would happen,,, but then again you can't explain how it happens in a non-physical environment either)

Just because one doesn't understand how flesh and blood could give rise to the experience of an orange, or happiness, (or whatever experience you want to mention) doesn't mean it can't happen. For example- my mother can't fathom how her iPad works, but that doesn't mean anything. Her inability to comprehend a complicated system is a reflection of her ignorance and has no bearing on whether it is possible. To her, it's magic,, and that's fine,,, but that doesn't MAKE it magic.

Here's the thing- I agree with you about your view of the nature of what we are. I just don't share your utter astonishment that most people are of a different opinion.

Hell, 10 years ago I was totally on board with humans being "biological robots", and I was a pretty well informed and educated, and open-minded person. I was just not familiar with all the available data.
I think the point is that with many things it is possible to produce a very rough understanding of how it works. For example, you could show your mother an electric light switch - she probably understands how it works - and then show her how eight such switches could encode a byte of data............

The problem with getting something like an experience to be felt by purely physical processes is much harder. I mean, first off all, most materialists can't see any objection to using a computer to simulate the process in question. That leaves you with a computer program that can experience while it computes something! Most people who know how a computer works, think that is absurd, so I won't discuss it unless you really disagree.

How do you give even a very rough idea of hoe to make something experience something - or how to program a computer to do so! It is like trying to build a working radio out of LEGO - it is obvious there is something missing!

David
 
#50
How would you decide when it stops being the experience and starts being what people ascribe to the experience? Don't we all ascribe meaning to experiences while they are happening?
A valid and good point/question. Like most things there is no defined boundary. But let's take a more familiar encounter as an example. Say you report to me that when you went home the head of Interpol was in your living room. As I gauge things the base experience is that you went home and found someone in your room. I accept that. Period. My questions would be about how/what made you decide that the person was who you decided they were. Given my own beliefs about your answers I may lean towards concluding that yes they were who you say they are . .or not.

I'll just add that few things in this area are cut and dried. They are not an easy fit with the "validate by collective" approach that plays a large part in materialist science.
 
#51
I think we have to step back and fully consider the absolute absurdity of their starting point! Debunkers/Skeptics/Atheists/SCIENTISTS are saying this can't happen because YOU don't exist. You don't have real experiences... they are all illusions... you are your brain. This is on par with fundamentalist Christians claiming that Noah got all those animals on the boat.
Almost. Not on par as it is far more conceivable that Noah did get all the animals on a boat. :)
 
#52
Remember also, that when Alex makes remarks of this sort, he started out more even handed but caught out a number of famous skeptics - either because they had twisted the truth (e.g. Wiseman) or because they simply didn't know the NDE evidence - never mind whether they agreed with it.

Maybe Alex should provide a set of links for newcomers to this site to explain why he and others take the view they now do!

David
This has nothing to do with Alex and his podcast but it shows why it is foolish to thake skeptics seriously:
Skeptical Misdirection: http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_misdirection
Richard Dawkins asked Rupert Sheldrake to participate in a documentary film on irrational beliefs but Dawkins refused to discuss evidence that telepathy is genuine which would mean that belief in telepathy is not irrational.


Martin Gardner made false statements about skeptics failing to replicate parapsychological results when the skeptics never even tried to replicate them.


Martin Gardner claimed psychic medium Mrs Piper used cold reading techniques. He neglected to say that she had many successful readings using proxy sitters who knew nothing about the actual spirits that were coming through.


James Randi made false statements attempting to debunk a video of dog telepathy when he never even watched the tape. He was forced to retract his statements.


CISCOP fellows had to make six errors in a statistical analysis in order to hide evidence that astrology might have some basis in fact.


Susan Blackmore justified her claim that she could not demonstrate any paranormal phenomena by ignoring her own studies that demonstrated a paranormal effect.


Wiseman and Hyman tested the 17 year old Russian school girl Natasha Demkina's ability to make psychic diagnoses. She beat odds of 78 to 1 against chance, a statistically significant result. Twenty to one is the usual scientific standard. Wiseman said she failed and mistakenly said she achieved odds of 50 to 1. Hyman told her to forget her delusions. The commentator said she would return to Russia discredited.


Houdini's assistant tried to plant fake evidence to discredit a psychic medium Mina Crandon. Her spirit guides exposed the plot. Houdini's assistant later admitted planting the evidence.

More at Skeptical Misdirection including pseudoskeptics paying for fake confessions and fake accusations of fraud.
 
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#54
I don't understand how people get from the idea that the brain doesn't produce consciousness (which I'm certain of) to the idea that we have free will, that life is not an illusion and has 'meaning' and a purpose, etc.. How do you make that leap? The two ideas don't seem at all related. It seems some people on this forum are using research of scientific anomolies to support whatever spiritual ideas they find reassuring, or make the leap to thinking that someone else's transcendent experiences can tell us things about empircal reality.

It's how we get ridiculous ideas that it's somehow wrong for the suffering to commit suicide. After all, they are interfering with the divine plan if we are not our brains.. This is where we get sumptuary laws and other sorts of nonsense. It's unfortuanate that people let their hatred of materialism blind them from the threat of true, in-your-face irrationality. We're always one small leap away from the Dark Ages.

It's my conjecture that people don't really desire freedom.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#55
You can't prove you have free will, that's a reality gamble you have to take. But if the brain doesn't produce consciousness it only further cripples the materialist assumptions of causation.

If life is an illusion, it would seem to mean everything is an illusion. If everything is an illusion, nothing is.

Top-down Meaning would, as Borges and McKenna note, shackle us and we'd come to despise existence. Meaning is something you look for, I might even suggest its the process of looking as much as it is whatever destination you find.

"Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose."
-Sartre


It's my conjecture that people don't really desire freedom.
The old man turns to her at last and says,
'You're as free as you think you are'
Then he turns and walks away.

-Euthanos
 
#57
I think you have this a little backwards. The East has already extensively mapped many, many different states of consciousness with rigor and these states have been achieved, maintained and written about ad infinitum for thousands of years by different practitioners.

Consider for one example only, the first four shamatha jhanas. These are objective, distinct states of consciousness that are attained all the time by relatively ordinary people. They aren't states that are relegated exclusively to enlightened folks. These are the exact same states that were used by the Buddha as a tool to achieve liberation. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhyāna_in_Buddhism)

There are in fact objective states of consciousness. They are well documented in a manner that could be called scientific.

And I don't think it is possible to distance yourself and these experiences. You are the experience. You could measure brain waves and body temperature and all kinds of other data points, but those things are basically meaningless. We are back to the cookbook and and the cookies-->No comparison between the recipe and the experience of eating a fresh cookie from the oven. We are moving in the wrong direction to apply Western science to experience and consciousness. We only need to apply the Eastern science that is already present, already tested. We are reinventing the wheel for no reason whatsoever than to say "We did it. And we did it our way." It's already done.
I agree with much of what you have to say... and the imbalance with regard to the deep respect we should have for Eastern science can't be stressed enough. but I do think the West has something to offer with regard to the scientific method. it just has to be put in perspective.
 
#58
I don't understand how people get from the idea that the brain doesn't produce consciousness (which I'm certain of) to the idea that we have free will, that life is not an illusion and has 'meaning' and a purpose, etc.. How do you make that leap?
I'm not sure I/we have "free will"... heck, I'm not even sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure that those who say I don't have free will because mind=brain are way off base.
 
#60
I hear this same hyperbolic claim made over and over again in these discussions. It is incredibly easy to imagine any number of ways "true disbelievers" could be convinced. Reliably consistent veridical information from OBE's, for one example, would do the trick, I'm sure.

Though their standards of proof may not necessarily jibe with your own, and they may have significant blind spots/biases that interfere with their ability to evaluate evidence in an objective way, and they may indeed be politically motivated, I'm sure they absolutely could be convinced. It would just take a ton more evidence than it probably did with you. In the end, exaggerating the position of the "disbeliever" and his standards of proof just drives the wedge in deeper, which is a pet peeve of mine, even if I think I understand your motivation to do so...

edit: I just realized that I posted this is a part of the forum that has been walled off from certain posters who have effectively been branded "true disbelievers". As such, I think I will start a thread about this (when I get back from work) in the other part of the forum that is for open discussions.
great. pls report back. I have not been over there in a long time... I'd like to hear what's going on.
 
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