Mod+ 272. PHILLIP COMELLA CAN SCIENCE LEAD TO SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    No transcript so far but I went to his website and:

    Given that, I hope many of those who are seeking in conventional ways read the book. I look forward to the transcript.
     
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  3. "Do you think the scientific data from near-death experiences and extended consciousness in general is transformational?"

    Yes. Knowledge of the afterlife deters suicide.

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...-suicide-skeptics-there-is-no-afterlife.1251/

    Kenneth Ring: Knowledge of the afterlife deters suicide:
    Lessons From the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser p.257-258

    http://books.google.com/books?id=WsEcwJGaB7cC&pg=PA258&lpg=PA258&dq=knowledge of nde deters suicide&source=bl&ots=3PgVvv2Mb6&sig=YwYbVOh4qHdVYrPSoBpph6nRhKk&hl=en#v=onepage&q=knowledge of nde deters suicide&f=false

    As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called "NDE bibliotherapy." His "technique" was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody's book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implicatins for the latter's own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.

    ...

    Since McDonagh's pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for tis therapeutic implications. (14)

    Quite apart form the clinicians who have developed this form of what we migh call "NDE-assisted therapy," I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case ...

    "wacky religious ideas"

    I don't think most materialists really understand the consequences of their philosophy. For example, the fine-tuning of the universe to support life is vastly improbable. It shouts "design". To get around this, materialists invoke the multiverse theory where there are an infinite number of universes and some like ours can exist by chance. But actually, under the multiverse theory, it is more likely that the vast age and size of our universe is an illuison and our universe is really to 6000 years old and consist only of our solar system than it is a vast 14 billion year old universe that has the fine tuning, age and size that it seems to have. The people with "wack religioius ideas" are more rational than the materialists.

    "science has no moral lessons to convey"

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains_23.html
    Albert Einstein
    “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”

    "God is the laws of nature"

    Natural laws never created anything.

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/search/label/John Lennox
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    ... at the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena.​

    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers#researchers_einstein

    Albert Einstein

    I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.​
    ...

    My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality.
    This next quote shows that Einstein's beliefs were not merely based on faith but were shaped by his experiences working as a scientist.

    On the other hand, however, every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
    Did Einstein Believe in God? by John Marsh provides a very detailed discussion demonstrating the fact that Einstein believed in God. Marsh writes:

    To sum up: Einstein was – like Newton before him – deeply religious and a firm believer in a transcendent God.​
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    Do you think the scientific evidence for NDEs and extended consciousness in general is transformational?

    [Alex is greatly influenced by data. What about you:
    Do you feel data is sufficient?
    Do you feel there needs to be some kind of personal experience?
    Are you agnostic even if you're sympathetic to psi phenomena?
    Do you hold some other view?]​
     
  5. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Do you think the scientific evidence for NDEs and extended consciousness in general is transformational?

    On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I like to think about data. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I'm more interested in experience. On Sundays, I read Bernardo Kastrup (his latest fascinating piece is here: http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/the-reality-nervous-system.html). ;)

    I kind of lean more towards Philip Comella in his optimism for the future, but Alex has a point about the enormous intellectual investment in atheism and maybe he's right that it won't disappear overnight. Mind you, we were all surprised to see how rapidly the Berlin Wall fell and communism collapsed, weren't we? That is, if you really believe that communism collapsed and didn't just do a bit of shape-shifting...
     
  6. erickh

    erickh New

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    I believe the scientific evidence is transformational to a degree. But in my opinion there is no comparison between an intellectual knowledge and what I would call gnosis. If you have intellectual knowledge only of reasons why you believe consciousness survives death you could be persuaded in the future to change your mind. If you've had an experience there is no way you will change your mind.

    I have had a couple experiences myself that totally proved to me that reality is way bigger than what materialist science says. However I haven't had (at least not yet) one of those mind blowing experiences of oneness that a few individuals have had. Even so there is no way I could ever accept mainstream's version of reality given my experiences.

    While my experiences serve as absolute proof to me personally it can't and in fact shouldn't convince anybody else. My experiences have transformed me more than if I only had an intellectual knowledge that reality is much bigger than what mainstream science presents.
     
  7. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    - I think it depends on what data one is referring to.
    - In this area personal experience is of great import. If most of the world's scientists announce tomorrow that they agree consciousness is fundamental would things automatically alter? I don't think so. I think it would simply mean that more people would be willing to start seeking their own personal experiences. That would then change things.
    - No.
    - Yes.
     
  8. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Fair enough, erickh, and I am in a similar boat myself. But what if gnosis isn't gnosis, but more a person's gloss on gnosis? I mean, the broad outline of NDEs is similar, but in the particulars, there are differences. An Eben Alexander sees one thing, and an Anita Moorjani, another. Broadly speaking, the two experiences are reasonably congruent, but nonetheless there are differences.

    Now: either the experience is the same but filtered differently, or it's actually somewhat different and experienced differently. We can never be 100% sure that either Alexander or Moorjani shared the same experience. That difference is what causes me to retain a little agnosticism.
     
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  9. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    That's the nature of primary consciousness (non-physical if you will). Generally, there are no "same experiences". That even extends into consciousness' physical expressions - whatever it is people's experience is uniquely their own. But if someone tells of a terror-inducing, crazy experience and another a cool, uplifting event we'd wouldn't doubt they'd both been on the back of a Ducati at 140.
     
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  10. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    • Do you feel data is sufficient?
    Yes. The data has always been sufficient. The real problem is that people - even the most hard-headed amongst us, are swayed by emotional rather than rational thinking, and the evidence may only be able to push the door open a fraction, it doesn't constitute a complete answer.

    • Do you feel there needs to be some kind of personal experience?
    Yes, definitely. Why? Because the whole reason why anyone takes an interest in these topics is because of their potential to affect our own lives, or the lives of society as a whole. If we don't at least witness this at close range, perhaps in those people we are close to, or in our own life, then there would seem little point. Some experiences are not open to everyone - we cannot all fly to the moon, or be a world-class athlete or artist. But there are smaller experiences, ones which would never make the news headlines, or be worth writing a book about, but the experiences of everyday life - for example in dreaming or synchronicities may be sufficient.
    • Are you agnostic even if you're sympathetic to psi phenomena?
    At one time, yes I was. But I was sufficiently interested to investigate some of these areas for myself. This is where it stops being an abstract academic exercise, real life is where these ideas stand or fall.
    • Do you hold some other view?
    I think everyone is different, at least in that we all follow our own path. We like different types of music, prefer different types of food and so on, and this also applies to how we experience and react to the world. With regard to the transformational possibility, it might be argued is that the reason why we are here is in order to transform ourselves, and the world, one step at a time. There can be inertia, in that even a profound personal experience may not have an instant effect, it may take years for a small seed to grow. In the meantime, looking at the experiences of others can help to maintain focus and not lose sight of the direction one would like to travel.

    In all of this I think optimism is an essential ingredient, the world tends to mirror our thoughts, looking for the positive tends to draw the positive towards us. And though there is a place for solitary contemplation (I'm currently reading a book where an activity such as a trek on foot across the Antarctic ice is compared with the withdrawal of ancient monks into the desert) it's important to see transformation as a collective, group activity. It doesn't need to be discussed in those terms. Sometimes pointing to something can create a self-consciousness which leads to harming the very thing we see as important. So a collective or group activity is important in the transformation, but it may be better to focus on practicalities and let the underlying currents take care of themselves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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  11. It depends on the data. If the data are statistics, it might not be that helpful for some people, but if the data are reports of personal experiences, I think that is likely to be helpful. But some people are immune to data or experience. Plenty of psychics report having gone through a phase in life where they ignored their experiences. Some people don't believe in the afterlife even when they are dead.
     
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  12. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    The scientific evidence discussed on the Skeptiko shows is highly transformational. I don't think most people really consider how greatly their worldviews and lives and everyday choices are effected by theoretical physics and psychology. The behavior of a photon or the z and p-values of a parapsychology experiment can affect everything from your concept of the afterlife down to the choice of shirt you put on in the morning or the menu item you choose at the restaurant.

    Personally, I've always been very curious and inquisitive about deeper subjects and relatively careless about lighter subjects. This has always made me feel a bit alienated which is perhaps one mark of the gnostic mystical journey. I am addicted to epiphany and I'm sure many on this forum could say the same about themselves.

    For many years religion served me decently well. Around 19 I entered a seriously depressing phase of doubt where I became skeptical of everything. At the time the only choice I had was between meaningful life-giving wonder-inspiring fundamental Christianity and nihilistic materialism. I felt meaning. I felt good and evil, so I decided these were real things and when I read about Jesus I felt the goodness there, so I decided to jump back into Christianity; however, the doubts and skepticism persisted despite my impressive efforts to generate genuine faith. Throughout most of my 20's I outwardly manifested a Christian while inwardly accumulating bits of clues and evidences that Christianity contained many truths that were not tied to any particular religion. Much of the evidence presented by authors and speakers on the Skeptiko podcast convinced me that life in this world is still mystical, wonder-inspiring, and meaningful without the myths of fundamentalist religion.

    I think many people have felt like I once did: forced to choose between fundamentalist religion which provides greater meaning, moral imperative, and wonder or nihilistic materialism which saps the life out of life. Now - thanks to the data - we have a third choice: scientific immaterialism or idealism. The universe is not a simple mechanical clock winding down to heat death. Your body is not a simple biological robot running randomly created programs into nothingness. Your life is not an isolated minuscule thread of meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe. Your life is woven into the great fabric of the universe. Wonder and mystery abound. "It's just" is just the mantra of the hubris-filled marveloclasts and mystery-destoyers. They've had their day and their system is destroying our planet. I think the reactionary force is rising and we are part of it.

    I can relate to Alex's general pessimism that the tide will ever really turn; however, much of the evidence he has presented has led me to believe more strongly than ever that the world is truly what we make of it and that nothing is impossible. Meaningful events seem to have a positive gravity to them that pull the past and the future together in such a way that the black swans rule the day. Even if the last 10,000 years have been humanity's earth school, there's nothing to keep us from graduating en masse tomorrow.
     
  13. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Perhaps that's because most people's views and choices are not affected. I'd opine that those affected are few but what I will state as fact as that, like most things, it's completely individual. I can also state that so far there has been no scientific evidence or discussion thereof that has had any major effect on my worldview. I'd say QM but that was in place eons before this incarnation. It seems to me that you may be veering into the common error of taking your own thoughts/reactions and assuming they apply at large.
     
  14. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    The worldviews of most people are indirectly rather than directly affected by scientific theories. The maths of a few nerdy physicists is interpreted by a few professional and lay philosophers and applied by a few movers and shakers and gatekeepers of our society to affect every decision great and small of every participant in society. Both religion and science provide myths through which people interpret their realities.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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  15. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Of course you have a valid point in that some of what comes through religion and science is disseminated throughout and integrated into societies. But you grievously err in thinking that the overall body of knowledge affects everyone in "every decision great and small." To be blunt it crosses over into the ridiculous. There are cases where one can accurately state "many people" even some that warrant "most people" but almost none that track to everyone. If you mean almost everyone has some views that have been influenced by something that came from science and religion - then you'd be back in a valid space. Humans aren't Borg.
     
  16. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    As I stated: "every participant in society." Sure, there are those few Amazon tribes that haven't been affected...

    Even if the decision making process is not directly influenced by the body of knowledge, the options to choose from are.
     
  17. erickh

    erickh New

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    I think it is inevitable that a person's culture and belief system will influence their spiritual experience. Also the contents of a persons consciousness will form a filter that will be superimposed upon the experience.
    Also consider how vast and varied the great beyond most likely is. The earth while quite small in the scheme of things is quite varied. If an extraterrestrial civilization sent an exploring party to earth imagine the difference in their experiences if one was sent to the top of the highest mountains, one to the Amazon, one to the Sahara, one to Iowa, one to the bottom of the ocean etc.
     
  18. bishop

    bishop Member

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    From the podcast regarding atheists' social positions.
    What are the wrong reasons that drive atheists to be on the right side of the fence? Could you elaborate on how you think atheists mistakenly reach the "right" position?
     
  19. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Traditionally belief has been the foundation of spirituality. That has been equally the great strength and weakness of the religions. But there has always been a scientific spirituality too, on the margins and/or underground. For instance the yoga tradition in India is entirely scientific. I am referring to the classical yoga of Patanjali. Buddhism too in its original essence is also entirely scientific.

    Of course by ‘science’ I do not mean the modern ideology of materialism. That is not science. That is belief. I mean real science; science that has an open mind and goes to the data; all the data.

    But truly scientific thinking is difficult for humans to achieve; even for professional scientists. The psycho-emotional and neurological systems that underlie belief are part of our human nature; hardwired into us as a necessary means precisely to reduce data and reach actionable conclusions and decisions. In the course of every day life we cannot be figuring out every little thing. We must necessarily run on autopilot in much of our functioning. Science requires an entirely different approach that actually runs contrary to much of our psycho-emotional and physiological human nature.

    Personally my encounter with the literature of NDEs has had a more profound impact on my thinking and life than any religious beliefs I have encountered.

    So yes in my view science is the way to spiritual transformation.
     
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  20. Doug

    Doug New

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