Mod+ 268. DAN HARRIS, DOES MEDITATION DEFY SCIENCE?

It may be that given the essential nature of consciousness as being radically subjective, that there is no objective proof of its independence other than direct subjective experience - such as an NDE.
I agree,
but I would add that in areas like this where unprovable (or at a minimum unsupportable) assumptions must be made to underpin one's argument, we might consider avoiding making absolute statements, and should certainly avoid making these topics a part of our central "proof". Not to do so undermines the credibility one's whole argument and reduces the discussion to a comparison of "faith" systems. And in the end, talking about faith will not help us reach an objective understanding of the nature of our being. We have seen lots of examples of that in Alex's discussions with those who have no interest in logic or proof, and are happy to just express their particular belief system. Let's not make that mistake ourselves.
 
I agree,
but I would add that in areas like this where unprovable (or at a minimum unsupportable) assumptions must be made to underpin one's argument, we might consider avoiding making absolute statements, and should certainly avoid making these topics a part of our central "proof". Not to do so undermines the credibility one's whole argument and reduces the discussion to a comparison of "faith" systems. And in the end, talking about faith will not help us reach an objective understanding of the nature of our being. We have seen lots of examples of that in Alex's discussions with those who have no interest in logic or proof, and are happy to just express their particular belief system. Let's not make that mistake ourselves.
Yes, I agree. I have taken some heat myself from the fundamentalists, or true believers, on this forum and elsewhere for pointing this out.
I am not a materialist myself, but I am aware that my position is a judgement and a choice based on the data. I have not had an NDE or any other experience that might constitute proof. But even if I had, I would be aware that my experience and knowledge would be essentially private and subjective; others would have to make a judgement as to what creedence to give to my account. Fundamentalists, or people who operate on the basis of faith, never understand this point.
 
I dont think this argument answers the materialist argument I outlined...because you argue from the perspective of one who believes or presumes or 'knows' (or however you wish to express it) that mind is "not a juice from a special brain organ". The materialist comes from the presumption that mind is "a juice from a special brain organ".
??
David,

You do a disservice to thoughtful Materialists. Please cite a modern scientist thinking that mind is a organic liquid. The comment about about juice is a reference to a demarcation in modern science made by leading thinkers who have shaped the modern scientific landscape. John Von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing and Norbert Weaver; each pioneered large chucks of what is Information Science. You may not understand the scope of their work, but ignorance of it -- limits your ability to engage in discussion with credibility.
The mechanical brain does not secrete thought "as the liver does bile," as the earlier materialists claimed, nor does it put it out in the form of energy, as the muscle puts out its activity. Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.
Norbert Wiener
You don't think the argument I presented has value, because you misquote the assertion and obviously did not grasp it's import. Please, come back showing some comprehension, as I seek considered critique. I did not say mind is a juice. It is what you you read into it. I specifically said that MEANING is not juice. Juice is a physical substance that I can put in an ICP Spectrograph and get reductive answers as to its composition. There is nothing of a faith-based idea in it. Logical meaning, supported by empirical data, is the basis of all scientific knowledge.

Further, I am not confused as to what mind is - as a functional and phenomenal effect. I cite a Nobel Winner and deeply materialist leaning scientist, Eric Kandel:
The brain is responsible not only for relatively simple motor behaviors, such as running and eating, but also for the complex acts that we consider quintessentially human, such as thinking, speaking, and creating works of art. Looked at from this perspective, mind is a set of operations carried out by the brain, much as walking is a set of operations carried out by the legs, except dramatically more complex.
Of course, a set of operations is an algorithm. This brings an algorithmic PoV to mind and formally into the mathematically and logically defined sciences. The "juice" is structured information, which manifests as the subject of study of bioinformatics. Norbert Wiener pioneered this field and it is one of the hottest areas of modern science for employment. Pragmatically it is where the action is.
As biology became more quantitative throughout the 20th century, it increasingly assumed a “statistical frame of mind” [19]. In addition, naturalists adopted numerical methods for population modeling, and biochemists for enzyme kinetics; such applications remain the core topics of mathematical biology texts today. As noted, statistics and numerical analysis were considerably empowered by computers, but later these disciplines in turn contributed substantially to entirely new methods such as machine learning and multiscale mathematical modeling that are now central elements of bioinformatics.

Today's systems biology has a pedigree extending back at least to the first half of the 20th century. The biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy began work on his holistic General System Theory then [20], while Norbert Wiener's cybernetics added an engineering math perspective in the 1950s encompassing feedback and regulatory systems that was influenced not only by early computer science, but also by evolutionary biology and cognitive science [21].
Read a science paper and maybe have some context in thinking about thought.
The Roots of Bioinformatics
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891587/
 
Yes, I agree. I have taken some heat myself from the fundamentalists, or true believers, on this forum and elsewhere for pointing this out.
I am not a materialist myself, but I am aware that my position is a judgement and a choice based on the data. I have not had an NDE or any other experience that might constitute proof. But even if I had, I would be aware that my experience and knowledge would be essentially private and subjective; others would have to make a judgement as to what creedence to give to my account. Fundamentalists, or people who operate on the basis of faith, never understand this point.
I appreciate that since you haven't had an experience, you feel perhaps less qualified to make absolute statements, but let me just say that although I have had many lucid dream experiences, I have not had a personal OBE or NDE or similar experience of disconnected consciousness. That said- I still comfortable drawing conclusions from the body of data that exists. Of course we all need to make this sort of judgement call for ourselves.

For me: if multitudes of people are saying similar things, spread over thousands of years, I'm thinking it's OK to use that data to draw some conclusions.

I wouldn't bet the farm on one account, but I WOULD bet the farm on hundreds or thousands of accounts that are similar enough to construct a consensus view of reality.
 
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Well, since I have had an NDE and several OBE's, I find the back and forth here sort of like reading various stories about angels dancing on the head of a pin. Reading a book now by William Buhlman, "Adventures out of the body". His descriptions of his OBE experiences match my own exactly. I really do think that until someone actually has the experience of leaving the body and traveling to the "other realm", as Anita Moorjani has labeled it, they will be compelled to discover the "truth" through logical discourse. Once you have the experience, logical discourse becomes moot, or irrelevant.
 
Well, since I have had an NDE and several OBE's, I find the back and forth here sort of like reading various stories about angels dancing on the head of a pin. Reading a book now by William Buhlman, "Adventures out of the body". His descriptions of his OBE experiences match my own exactly. I really do think that until someone actually has the experience of leaving the body and traveling to the "other realm", as Anita Moorjani has labeled it, they will be compelled to discover the "truth" through logical discourse. Once you have the experience, logical discourse becomes moot, or irrelevant.
I would agree with this. After nearly two years of intense practice and concentration, I was able to have a couple of classic consciously induced OBEs. I shy away from drawing any conclusions regarding the nature of the experience of the OBE. But I now shy away from drawing conclusions regarding the nature of any experience. Conceptualizing and "idea-making" no matter how "spiritual" the intention is by its very nature limiting. Until one fully realizes that the apparently voracious appetite that the mind has for "explaining" is entirely counterproductive and essentially useless one can never begin to approach any semblance of "freedom."
 
Once you have the experience, logical discourse becomes moot, or irrelevant.
Have read his books. I'm going to Monroe Institute in April to see if I can take the next step.

However, until then I'm interested in what others have to say. Keeps me engaged in the search.. : )

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree- much of what is said here are "head of the pin" discussions....
 
This is the sort of example that allows me to say with full surety that there is a huge, probably primary, non-physical aspect to us as humans. How 90% of the population can hear this and promptly forget it and move on with their day is the main REAL mystery to me.

I don't know how this stuff works (actually I think we may not be capable of knowing), but I KNOW it does exist...

http://www.today.com/news/return-life-how-some-children-have-memories-reincarnation-2D80550946
 
This is the sort of example that allows me to say with full surety that there is a huge, probably primary, non-physical aspect to us as humans. How 90% of the population can hear this and promptly forget it and move on with their day is the main REAL mystery to me.

I don't know how this stuff works (actually I think we may not be capable of knowing), but I KNOW it does exist...

http://www.today.com/news/return-life-how-some-children-have-memories-reincarnation-2D80550946
Where would you say this ranks on a scale of 1-10. 1 being not at all impressive and 10 being off the charts nearly impossible levels of magnitude incredible?
 
This is the sort of example that allows me to say with full surety that there is a huge, probably primary, non-physical aspect to us as humans. How 90% of the population can hear this and promptly forget it and move on with their day is the main REAL mystery to me.

I don't know how this stuff works (actually I think we may not be capable of knowing), but I KNOW it does exist...

http://www.today.com/news/return-life-how-some-children-have-memories-reincarnation-2D80550946
Interesting that you posted this link, as I was talking about this case in another thread just the other day.
While I've read Ryan's story in Jim Tucker's book, I don't remember there was any mention about the incorrect death certificate, which is quite a fascinating extra detail! :eek:

Tucker met Martyn's relatives and was able to assess that he was born in 1905 and died in 1964, at 59 years of age.

As this article reports:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollyw...remembers-past-life-as-1930s-hollywood-actor/

However, after examining old census records, Tucker discovered that Martyn had been born in 1903, not 1905 as his birth certificate claimed, making Ryan’s statement eerily correct.
cheers

ETA: IMDB reports his birth/death correctly:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0554421/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

However I would suppose this information has beed redacted more recently, as no information seemed to be available about this actor back in the days when Tucker was investigating this case.

Would be great to know more...
 
Where would you say this ranks on a scale of 1-10. 1 being not at all impressive and 10 being off the charts nearly impossible levels of magnitude incredible?
In it's pure simplicity and impactfullness? Maybe an 8.

Stevenson's work on reincarnation was the key factor for breaking my personal fixation on reductionism.

This and other stories like it show that the experience of a life lived, can and demonstrably do survive physical death.

I really value simplicity because much of the dialog on this site is so esoteric as to be inaccessible to the average man on the street. The concepts which are bandied about are based on layers of theories, speculations, proofs, and statistical analysis. The dialog is understandable primarily by those who have spent (possibly) years educating themselves on the nuance of the subject matter. And as we have seen, most of these wizards of the non-physical have pet models and "isms" to which they subscribe and which support their position. The problem is most of these discussions are just a bunch of noise to much of the population.

What I am saying is that occasionally there arises a clean and understandable example such as this one, that is in the mainstream now, where if the average person were to pay attention, would be enough to show them that current science is missing the boat on a huge aspect of what we are. And this realization would be enough for them to start peeling away their misconceptions and start taking the time to look closer at more evidence.

And more to the point: sadly if the average person can't even grasp the significance of something as simple and "in the mainstream" as a piece like this on a national morning TV show, they will never get to the point of looking for the deeper more substantial evidence and taking the time to understand it.
 
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http://www-atlas.lbl.gov/~stapp/QID.pdf

Quantum Interactive Dualism: An Alternative to Materialism
Henry P. Stapp

In the quantum theory of the mind-brain there are two separate processes. First,
there is the unconscious mechanical brain process called Process 2. A huge
industry has developed that tries to map out these essentially classically
describable processes. But, according to orthodox contemporary physics,
another process, von Neumann's Process 1, is also entering into the causal
story. Its effects become most manifest in connection with an impulsive feeling
described as “effort”. The effect of this “effort of attention” is to inject into brain
activity, and thence into overt behavior, some effects of intentional input and
control that, according to orthodox quantum precepts cannot be explained in
terms of physical causation alone, because the process acts to bring definiteness
out of a realm of physical unknowability and indefiniteness created by the
uncertainty principle.

 
Sounds like this Dan Harris chap, is trying to manufacture his own form of meditation, like he found a great toy but wants to show everyone how to play it, rather than giving to much credit to the ones who have been playing the game for years, and our well ahead of the game, There are great spiritual leaders that can help achieve much more than ten percent happiness.


It shouldn't be a curious thing that atheists are attracted to Buddhism, As Lord Krisna was predicted in the Vedic literature to incarnate on earth as Lord Buddha, Simply to trick the atheists, out of kindness, into accepting spiritual regulations and principles. Knowing the atheists will reject the teachings if directly associated as coming from God.

So the atheist accepts the principles on the condition, I've heard so many atheists self-declare, that it's because they don't have to believe in God. And then they want to go as far as hijack Spirituality, Sam Harris for one, is a laughing stock, Talking about awakening , lol

I didn't see the debate between Chopra And Harris, But I did see Harris get caned by William Lane Craig, on the argument for a solid foundation for morality, Sam Harris couldn't step up to the plate, just like all the atheists horse men.
 
David,

You do a disservice to thoughtful Materialists. Please cite a modern scientist thinking that mind is a organic liquid. The comment about about juice is a reference to a demarcation in modern science made by leading thinkers who have shaped the modern scientific landscape. John Von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing and Norbert Weaver; each pioneered large chucks of what is Information Science. You may not understand the scope of their work, but ignorance of it -- limits your ability to engage in discussion with credibility.


You don't think the argument I presented has value, because you misquote the assertion and obviously did not grasp it's import. Please, come back showing some comprehension, as I seek considered critique. I did not say mind is a juice. It is what you you read into it. I specifically said that MEANING is not juice. Juice is a physical substance that I can put in an ICP Spectrograph and get reductive answers as to its composition. There is nothing of a faith-based idea in it. Logical meaning, supported by empirical data, is the basis of all scientific knowledge.

Further, I am not confused as to what mind is - as a functional and phenomenal effect. I cite a Nobel Winner and deeply materialist leaning scientist, Eric Kandel:


Of course, a set of operations is an algorithm. This brings an algorithmic PoV to mind and formally into the mathematically and logically defined sciences. The "juice" is structured information, which manifests as the subject of study of bioinformatics. Norbert Wiener pioneered this field and it is one of the hottest areas of modern science for employment. Pragmatically it is where the action is.


Read a science paper and maybe have some context in thinking about thought.
The Roots of Bioinformatics
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891587/
I wondered why Stephen Wright chose to respond to me in such arrogant and rude terms.
He completely misunderstood the spirit and point of my earlier reply to him
He seems to have taken it as a personal attack...which it wasnt at all.
I guess that is why his reply is so defensive and insulting.
 
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