Mod+ 281. DR. EVAN THOMPSON FINDS NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE EVIDENCE UNCONVINCING

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Neil

    Neil New

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    I think of Rick Strassman's work with DMT and reports of hyper-lucidity and wonder what link there may be...
     
  2. Alex

    Alex New

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    perhaps, but really see how... the best evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

    and, not to belabor, but, no correlation DOES mean "there isn't something to it" :) not to say we might find an undiscovered correlation in future, but we don't have that now.
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well an oscillator is also highly synchronous, but it doesn't compute! I think it is interesting to follow the weird progression of totally materialist ideas.

    1) Neurons compute using a statistical process that has been explored using artificial neural nets. These things can be (and usually are) simulated on a computer. Maybe relatively free thinkers, such as Evan, will acknowledge that creatures without neurons may think too - perhaps by some kind of molecular computation. I think that neural net calculations probably really happen in the brain to pre-process data - e.g. vision. We have no conscious awareness of these physical processes, any more than we are aware of the bending of light inside the lens of our eyes!

    2) It is at least possible to imagine such a computation conferring a biological advantage on the organism, but it isn't possible to understand actual qualia - so the Hard Problem gets pushed to one-side. This is where I think materialist neurology goes off the rails. Because experience is obviously subjective, it is easy (but not intellectually honest) to push this problem away.

    3) Now we have the idea - probably false IMHO - that the neurons (and by extension, any other computation) can generate consciousness.

    4) Next materialists kind of forget that the neurons are supposed to be computing in some sense to generate consciousness, and start to attribute qualia to neurons that are firing in extremis. As I already pointed out, this really can't make sense. Even if an NDE is seen as a 'mistaken calculation' of some sort, a lot of stuff must be going on correctly - not least the process of remembering the experience, and remember assaults on the brain typically produce amnesia!

    5) The fact that parts of the brain seem to light up preferentially with particular mental tasks, is interesting, but not so very interesting. It really doesn't tell us much about what is going on - just how it is spatially distributed. This may be very useful diagnostically, but the geometric layout of the chips inside your computer is of no real interest to you even if you write software. I think neurologists fool themselves into thinking that fMRI data, and the like, is one day going to explain consciousness.

    I think qualia are absolutely vital to thought. Even solving an equation involves qualia - sometimes quite vivid ones - I don't think it makes sense to say, in effect that we will be able to produce conscious minds that do everything we do except for the qualia - and then presumably solve the qualia problem later!

    Modern computers give us real insight into the difference between computation and thought. Even people who develop chess playing software, or software that does algebra recognise the vast difference between the way such software operates - relying on brute force and clever insights of the software designers - and the way the mind works.

    The trouble is, those who really don't want to contemplate that consciousness is something else, always find enough wriggle room to stay true to their beliefs - even if it involves making wild assumptions such as that neurons that are firing randomly can still 'compute' something!

    David
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  4. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    All the rats in Borjigins study were induced into cardiac arrest... They all had a massive drop in power of their endogenous EM field as measured by EEG... They all began to show highly synchronous firing at 17s or so after cardiac arrest... This activity apparently resembled a wakeful human undertaking a visual task...

    Because of the timing... and because we've still got firing... The obvious explanation in my view is that the rats were insufficiently shielded during the experiment... and that the networks of energy compromised brains which have experienced a drop in power of their endogenous field, are far more sensitive to external EM fields than is currently believed.

    Whether the energy compromised rats brains were transducing the EM field of the mains AC power supply at 60hz, or the EM field of the researchers conducting the experiment... or both, or some other slowly varying field, I don't know.

    But it seems reasonable to me to suggest that a Faraday cage may be insufficient for these highly sensitive, dying EEG studies, and that the results Borjigin reported were at least partly due to external field effects.
     
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  5. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    Hi all,

    I just wanted to post a link to a fascinating YouTube video providing a summary of where Quantum Science currently is at, and it's obvious ramifications. I hope it is not too off topic. It is because earlier, Neil and I got into the issue of QM and it's relevance to materialist mind = brain paradigm, and we did so because I felt Dr Thompson was evasive with regards to the potential and probable links between QM and this whole consciousness ball of wax.



    I will post this link as a separate thread in another part of the forum for everyone to see.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  6. Neil

    Neil New

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    Can you really blame Dr. Thompson for not wanting to discuss quantum interpretations, since even amoung highly regarded physicists the issue is contentious?
     
  7. Neil

    Neil New

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    So it looks like perhaps we need to await replications using better controls. Your hypothesis is worth testing.

    And if your hypothesis were true, it would illustrate why I was pointing out that there was no correlation with NDEs.
     
  8. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Well, incommensurability may be controversial in your world, but in mine incommensurability is very real - of course it is a spectrum; a matter of degree.

    My fundamental point is that incommensurability is rooted in the very way we know.

    I have a friend with whom I have an almost complete incommensurability on matters concerning the Divine, spirituality and consciousness etc.
    He is a Christian fundamentalist and I am not a Christian - I am not an atheist either.

    We completely talk past each other. Words are spoken and heard, no doubt; but meanings and significances are not.
    Communication, in the sense of either of us feeling the other ‘hears’ what we are saying, is nil.

    I experience exactly the same, to varying degrees, when discussing matters of politics or economy with libertarians or neoliberals.
    Almost complete incommensurability.

    The reason is they all see the world radically differently than I do. Of course I am not referring to the physical world, but to the world as a mental structure of significance and meaning. The world means very different things to different types of people.

    Your points about overcoming incommensurability seem reasonable to me. It can be done; I do not deny that. But that it can be done does not mean it will be done in practice in any specific case; and as I have said, I have a lifetime of experience that validates the actuality of incommensurability in normal human relations.

    Of course I should say, the basis of what I am saying is only understandable to someone who does not fall into the common error of presuming that the problem of incommensurability lies in the stupidity or bad faith of other people. Incommensurability is a problem of human knowing, which is relational.

    Human knowing is not a logical function; it is much deeper than that. Human knowing consists in a multi-dimensional and multi-modal, spiritual, psycho-emotional and physical complex relationship to experience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  9. Alex

    Alex New

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    thx for the link and I really liked the video, but this guy is heavy into Christian Apologetics! Might be interesting to get him on Skeptiko :)
     
  10. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    Oh dear. Didn't pick up on that.

    I loved the video too, an think it does just fine standing on it's own ... well away from any apologetics of a Christian flavour! It is a nice composition of some the most fundamental discoveries in QM, and their startling ramifications.
     
  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Everything we ever discuss here is contentious - even Evan's very reasonable assertion that creatures without neurons show signs of intelligent behaviour is highly contentious!

    David
     
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  12. Crossposting:

    The above is a another interview in which Michio Kaku again says that Eugene Wigner said quantum mechanics is evidence of a cosmic consciousness but it goes further and includes God.

    Here's what Michio Kaku said in the video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=853&v=4C5pq7W5yRM
    14:11 Wigner said, let's take it one step farther. If I, a human being, look at the cat I am conscious, therefore consciousness determines existence. At that point Einstein went ballistic and said, "What, you're saying that the fact that you are a conscious being determines the fact that the cat is alive?" The answer is yes. And Wigner made one more step and that is, "How do know I'm alive?" You see the cat and me, we're part of the same universe. If I don't know the cat is alive or dead, I could also be dead at the same time and no even know it. So who determines that I'm alive? Well Wigners friend looks at me, I look at the cat and we exist. But then who looks at Wigner's friend? And there's an infinite chain of people looking at people looking at people until finally you hit cosmic consciousness. Some consciousness that's etherial that envelops the universe which looks at us and says, "Aha the cat is alive".​
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  13. What is that supposed to mean? Is it a slur intended to discredit his honesty or his analysis of the scientific data without actually addressing the content of his statements? Would you make this type of comment about a skeptic? An atheist? Everyone has a point of view. Skeptics try to discredit "woo merchants" all the time to avoid addressing the facts, why sink to that level?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  14. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Quantum mechanical idealism and Christianity!
    I wonder how they fit Genesis into that?
    No doubt they have a clever way...and some quantum mechanical weirdness to 'prove' it.
    Bishop Berkeley will be cheering in heaven.
     
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  15. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    LOL. Honestly though, I think the video stands up well on it's own, entirely removed from any Christian agenda which the editor may have envisioned. Indeed, the video does not push or even hint at a suggestion of any Christian narrative.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed... it stands well on its own.
     
  17. He is an unusual kind of Apologist who believes in Palamite Panentheism, a form of monism. (Panentheism is not pantheism.) He cites scripture to support beliefs which sound a lot like what enlightened mediators believe.



    From the video:

    • Acts 17:28: "'In him we live and move and have our being.'"
    • Colossians 1:17: "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
    • John 14:20: "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
    • Athanasius the Great (writing about Jesus): "In creation He is present everywhere, yet is distinct in being from it; ordering, directing, giving life to all, containing all, yet is He Himself the Uncontained, existing solely in His Father. As with the whole, so also is it with the part. Existing in a human body, to which He Himself gives life, He is still Source of life to all the universe, present in every part of it, yet outside the whole; and He is revealed both through the works of His body and through His activity in the world." On the Incarnation, 3.17
    • Martin Luther: "God must be present in every single creature in its innermost and outermost being, on all sides, through and through, below and above, before and behind, so that nothing can be truly present and within all creature than God himself with his power." Weimarer Ausgabe 32.134.34-136.36
    • Larry L. Rasmussen: Nature could not exist if the spirit of God was removed.

    In the video he explains that his other videos about quantum mechanics lead to idealism and some Christians don't want to give up dualism, so he feels the need to point out the scriptural support for Palamite Panentheism.



     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  18. KeithA

    KeithA New

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    Hope don't mind putting this down here ... about the Immortality Project at UC Riverside in the US directed by Prof. John Martin Fischer where they seem to be going for a naturalistic explanation for NDEs http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/28956

    They are publishing a book, “No Proof of Heaven: The Significance of Near-Death Experiences.” A little from the piece … “Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin said their book, which is written for a general audience, takes a respectful but skeptical perspective on the supernatural implications of near-death experiences.”

    To be honest, I did leave a comment on this on Dr. Alexander's website, really just for a response but didn't get one. I favour something beyond naturalism to explain to be clear from my POV (for what it's worth!)
     
  19. KeithA

    KeithA New

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  20. If cat's could talk...

    Firefighters Revive Cat with Specially Designed Oxygen Mask

    [​IMG]

    Maybe they can test rescued animals to see if some undergo psychological transformations, lose fear of death, and have increased psychic perceptions like human NDErs?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
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