Alex Tsakiris and Tom Jump Debate Near Death Experience Sceicne |408|

Right - we have to protect freedom of speech.
Strangely one of the best ways to protect freedom of speech is to make it valuable by employing some discipline in how we exercise it. The idea that freedom of speech is an unrestrained liberty to speak as we will is naive. All freedoms imply an accompanying duty - but Americans in particular like to imagine that the two are separate and distinct. The freedom to bear arms should be accompanied by a duty not to shoot people who don't need shooting by a fair objective measure. If you carry a gun you risk being shot while exercising that duty. You can't isolate the risk from the freedom or the duty - but it happens all the time.

The freedom of speech does not avoid the duty to speak truthfully and fairly any more than the freedom to drive a car means you can avoid the duty to be sober and competent. Sadly we live in an age when every clown is encouraged to offer their opinion regardless of the fact that it is ill-informed and of no worth at all other than to illustrate their utter lack of knowledge, self-awareness or discipline.

As a result we have entered an age in which unrestrained sentiment seems to trump truth and honesty. Sure it looks like freedom of speech, but its not. It is speech but its not free - unless you imagine freedom arises in ignorance, egotism, arrogance and ill-will. There's an old saying that came out a bitter global conflict - the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It means that liberty is accompanied by self-discipline and alertness. The point of vigilance is the defence against self-delusion and self-satisfaction, not projecting against an imagined external foe.

In an age of rising passion for populism we must be reminded of the Nazis who exercised a freedom of speech that induced a nation into self-delusion and self-satisfaction.

There's a compelling and under-rated book by William Gairdner called 'The Book of Absolutes' in which he argues cogently against the delusion of relativism. It matters whether a truth is absolute or contingent - and therefore subject to opinion, regardless of the degree of knowledge or insight offered.

We may have a freedom to speak, but I say we have a duty to know when to exercise that freedom for the common good and when to keep silent. Freedoms cannot be exercised willy nilly. They are always framed by duties and obligations. Why is it that we think it is okay for crude, rude and stupid opinions to be carelessly broadcast and given credence?

Its one thing to say that we must protect 'the freedom of speech' but what, exactly, do we mean?
 
For some reason I listened to the interview again when I did some gardening. I know its silly but how could somebody call himself an atheist and
materialist and base his whole argument on science knowing next to nothing,
This is what materialists and atheists do all the time. Here's my point on this subject. Neither materialism nor atheism are sufficient intellectual grounds upon which to base any serious intellectual argument. At best they are affirmations of opinions that work fine when they are shared among people who agree with them - like political and religious 'beliefs'.

But they are useless when employed to engage a person who simply does not agree with the numerous assumptions that are made in formulating their belief. For example I am left leaning politics, and while I get the arguments of the right up to a point I simply do not agree with the critical moral and metaphysical assumptions.

Now I have read the deep thought of deep conservatives, and I think they talk bollocks. I can't say whether that point of view is arrived at because I have objectively thought through the evidence or because I am innately disposed to be leftist - and hence deaf to arguments that oppose my deep assumptions about how the world works. But at least I go there and see if I can think it all through. At a deep level it is possible to chose to be leftist on sound moral and intellectual grounds. That may be true for rightists but I cannot get head into that space. I know my POV is valid, but I do not know whether their's is. I can't invalidated for demean that contrary POV - I just can't align with it at a deep integral level of my being. We differ - but we are not foes because there are so many things we agree on.

On the other hand your average materialistic atheist arrives at a POV and parks themselves there with the usually smug assumption they are right. It is very rare that they have actually dug deep enough to discover, for themselves, whether their opinion is based on more that egotism, ignorance and bluster.

Phillip Adams, who was once Australia's most vocal atheist has a radio show called Late Night Live on ABC RN. He's being doing it for over well 20 years. Its a great show. Through the show Phillip has come to know and love many deeply religious folk. He still professes to be an atheist, but way less stridently and loudly and often.He gets that atheism is not an inherently superior POV.

The link between materialism and science has been grossly misrepresented. It is true that many universities became dominated by materialists. Let's remember that Marxism that was so fashionable in academia is atheistic. While there is no necessary link between materialism and atheism that link was strongly forged. So then politics of the campus linked with the politics of business to favour materialistic POVs to the degree that if you were a scientist and religious you were in deep trouble.

What actual science was involved in, and what materialists thought was actually quite divergent. Science is not, and never has been, predominantly materialistic - it has just looked that way - Spun that way.

People like TJump don't do science to any deep degree. They are not into science so much as trying to trade off the apparent respectability of science to push what is really a faith. In this respect they are no different to the Christian fundamentalist who employs the Bible to flog a whole raft of idiotic ideas that have no actual relationship with actual Biblical content or original meaning.

The biggest lie that materialist tell is when they represent the opinions of some scientists as the views of Science. There is no such thing as Science, only sciences and scientists. This is an important thing to get because we value Big Ideas like Justice and Freedom. Science is not one of them. Neither is Religion. Materialists deliberately and wilfully employ this 'category error' all the time - because it works. Big Ideas like Freedom and Justice are philosophical ideas. Science and religion are not. Science is essentially a political idea that means whatever form of getting knowledge is approved of by the ruling powers is the respectable way of knowing. Religion is similarly hampered by silly political interpretations.

Materialism is a belief system with an identity crisis. It thinks it is a knowledge system, and in fact the only valid one. There is a fascinating parallel between materialism and Christianity - and in fact the only thing that distinguishes them is that one says there is a God and the other says there is not a God.

TJump is a materialistic evangelical. The one thing we know for sure about Christian Evalngelicals is that they know bugger all about religion. If it were otherwise they could not sustain their position without it being a flagrant lie and pretence. So it is within materialistic devotees of Science. If they actually knew any thing about the sciences and the scientists they would have to lie to maintain they fantasy.
 
I don't recall saying that. you're right, this was the first think Peter Fenwick and Sam Parnia looked at. again, it's just skeptical silliness... of course these guys looked at all of that stuff and the research never would have made it into a peer-reviewed journal if they hadn't.



agreed
Ah, all right. I remember a bit more of that old thread many years ago. I was an 'atheist physicalist' then. I believed in many worlds. Now I am definitely leaning towards a an idealist stance.

Sadly I've switched to what appears to me to be a kind of sophism. It's like learning the earth is *actually* flat but you still have to live with the true believers. Which means one thing to me: how do you make your beliefs pay rent? I can't make the ends meet. Its making me rather nutty.

If Gary Schwartz is right in any way I am not sure theism is true. God doesn't make technology. People do. And so maybe, just maybe "god" allows it.

This too shall pass. Including that comment about peer review. And so I get the silliness notion in a very weird way.
 
Had a chance to listen to the podcast again, and it had me looking at Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on Wikipedia. I thought this passage speaks to why the "falsifiability" angles in the interview (and in other venues with actually scientists) don't produce the desired result:

[According to Kuhn] observations that are intended to falsify a statement will fall under one of the paradigms they are supposed to help compare, and will therefore be inadequate for the task. ... In the practice of science, scientists will only consider the possibility that a theory has been falsified if an alternative theory is available that they judge credible. If there is not, scientists will continue to adhere to the established conceptual framework.

I also like this one:

Kuhn's analysis of the Copernican Revolution emphasized that, in its beginning, it did not offer more accurate predictions of celestial events, such as planetary positions, than the Ptolemaic system, but instead appealed to some practitioners based on a promise of better, simpler solutions that might be developed at some point in the future. Kuhn's insistence that a paradigm shift was a mélange of sociology, enthusiasm and scientific promise, but not a logically determinate procedure, caused an uproar in reaction to his work. ... For some commentators The Structure of Scientific Revolutions introduced a realistic humanism into the core of science, while for others the nobility of science was tarnished by Kuhn's introduction of an irrational element into the heart of its greatest achievements.

The mainstream may hang on to the materialist paradigm of consciousness for many generations to come. I wonder if the mainstream were to accept an extended consciousness model, if the extended consciousness will cease being spiritual and become another kind of run of the mill aspect of reality. Kind of like how the sun used to be worshipped as a deity, but now is seen--at least in some parts of the world--as nothing more than certain chemicals on the periodic table undergoing certain chemical processes--nothing divine about it. I wonder if trying to understand the spiritual through the lense of science is actually a move toward stripping it of meaning and moving it toward nihilism (biological robots in a meaningless universe).

In the meantime, I think there is some benefit of looking at different kinds of truths: emotional/spiritual/surface-experience truths and scientific/material/literal truths. When I think back on my little mystical experiences, they only make sense if I don't sweat over the scietistic/rationalistic explanations. My experiences have really interesting energy for me when I recall them in my mind--wonder, awe, mystery, fascination, meaning, even beauty. If I ever have another strong synchronicity or premonition, it will be most meaningful to me when I take it at face value without trying to understand it on a scientific level. In our culture today, it seems like the scientific/literal reigns supreme. It is difficult to try to find some balance in my mind between the unanalyzed raw experience of the mystical experience (which is what draws me to these podcasts) and the scientific/technical philosophy approach to analyzing them.
 
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This is what materialists and atheists do all the time. Here's my point on this subject. Neither materialism nor atheism are sufficient intellectual grounds upon which to base any serious intellectual argument. At best they are affirmations of opinions that work fine when they are shared among people who agree with them - like political and religious 'beliefs'.

But they are useless when employed to engage a person who simply does not agree with the numerous assumptions that are made in formulating their belief. For example I am left leaning politics, and while I get the arguments of the right up to a point I simply do not agree with the critical moral and metaphysical assumptions.

Now I have read the deep thought of deep conservatives, and I think they talk bollocks. I can't say whether that point of view is arrived at because I have objectively thought through the evidence or because I am innately disposed to be leftist - and hence deaf to arguments that oppose my deep assumptions about how the world works. But at least I go there and see if I can think it all through. At a deep level it is possible to chose to be leftist on sound moral and intellectual grounds. That may be true for rightists but I cannot get head into that space. I know my POV is valid, but I do not know whether their's is. I can't invalidated for demean that contrary POV - I just can't align with it at a deep integral level of my being. We differ - but we are not foes because there are so many things we agree on.

On the other hand your average materialistic atheist arrives at a POV and parks themselves there with the usually smug assumption they are right. It is very rare that they have actually dug deep enough to discover, for themselves, whether their opinion is based on more that egotism, ignorance and bluster.

Phillip Adams, who was once Australia's most vocal atheist has a radio show called Late Night Live on ABC RN. He's being doing it for over well 20 years. Its a great show. Through the show Phillip has come to know and love many deeply religious folk. He still professes to be an atheist, but way less stridently and loudly and often.He gets that atheism is not an inherently superior POV.

The link between materialism and science has been grossly misrepresented. It is true that many universities became dominated by materialists. Let's remember that Marxism that was so fashionable in academia is atheistic. While there is no necessary link between materialism and atheism that link was strongly forged. So then politics of the campus linked with the politics of business to favour materialistic POVs to the degree that if you were a scientist and religious you were in deep trouble.

What actual science was involved in, and what materialists thought was actually quite divergent. Science is not, and never has been, predominantly materialistic - it has just looked that way - Spun that way.

People like TJump don't do science to any deep degree. They are not into science so much as trying to trade off the apparent respectability of science to push what is really a faith. In this respect they are no different to the Christian fundamentalist who employs the Bible to flog a whole raft of idiotic ideas that have no actual relationship with actual Biblical content or original meaning.

The biggest lie that materialist tell is when they represent the opinions of some scientists as the views of Science. There is no such thing as Science, only sciences and scientists. This is an important thing to get because we value Big Ideas like Justice and Freedom. Science is not one of them. Neither is Religion. Materialists deliberately and wilfully employ this 'category error' all the time - because it works. Big Ideas like Freedom and Justice are philosophical ideas. Science and religion are not. Science is essentially a political idea that means whatever form of getting knowledge is approved of by the ruling powers is the respectable way of knowing. Religion is similarly hampered by silly political interpretations.

Materialism is a belief system with an identity crisis. It thinks it is a knowledge system, and in fact the only valid one. There is a fascinating parallel between materialism and Christianity - and in fact the only thing that distinguishes them is that one says there is a God and the other says there is not a God.

TJump is a materialistic evangelical. The one thing we know for sure about Christian Evalngelicals is that they know bugger all about religion. If it were otherwise they could not sustain their position without it being a flagrant lie and pretence. So it is within materialistic devotees of Science. If they actually knew any thing about the sciences and the scientists they would have to lie to maintain they fantasy.
You are so right Michael
I thought I was well down the road to deprogramming myself but its clear after reading your stuff have only just scratched the surface, its heartening and disheartening at the same time.I wish I could honestly say I could trust my own logic but with all the subtle programming we all get is that even possible? Do you think there is even a core of "just and universal"truths to enable one to logic through matters or do you have to incrementally get there?
 
Had a chance to listen to the podcast again, and it had me looking at Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on Wikipedia. I thought this passage speaks to why the "falsifiability" angles in the interview (and in other venues with actually scientists) don't produce the desired result:

[According to Kuhn] observations that are intended to falsify a statement will fall under one of the paradigms they are supposed to help compare, and will therefore be inadequate for the task. ... In the practice of science, scientists will only consider the possibility that a theory has been falsified if an alternative theory is available that they judge credible. If there is not, scientists will continue to adhere to the established conceptual framework.

I also like this one:

Kuhn's analysis of the Copernican Revolution emphasized that, in its beginning, it did not offer more accurate predictions of celestial events, such as planetary positions, than the Ptolemaic system, but instead appealed to some practitioners based on a promise of better, simpler solutions that might be developed at some point in the future. Kuhn's insistence that a paradigm shift was a mélange of sociology, enthusiasm and scientific promise, but not a logically determinate procedure, caused an uproar in reaction to his work. ... For some commentators The Structure of Scientific Revolutions introduced a realistic humanism into the core of science, while for others the nobility of science was tarnished by Kuhn's introduction of an irrational element into the heart of its greatest achievements.

The mainstream may hang on to the materialist paradigm of consciousness for many generations to come. I wonder if the mainstream were to accept an extended consciousness model, if the extended consciousness will cease being spiritual and become another kind of run of the mill aspect of reality. Kind of like how the sun used to be worshipped as a deity, but now is seen--at least in some parts of the world--as nothing more than certain chemicals on the periodic table undergoing certain chemical processes--nothing divine about it. I wonder if trying to understand the spiritual through the lense of science is actually a move toward stripping it of meaning and moving it toward nihilism (biological robots in a meaningless universe).

In the meantime, I think there is some benefit of looking at different kinds of truths: emotional/spiritual/surface-experience truths and scientific/material/literal truths. When I think back on my little mystical experiences, they only make sense if I don't sweat over the scietistic/rationalistic explanations. My experiences have really interesting energy for me when I recall them in my mind--wonder, awe, mystery, fascination, meaning, even beauty. If I ever have another strong synchronicity or premonition, it will be most meaningful to me when I take it at face value without trying to understand it on a scientific level. In our culture today, it seems like the scientific/literal reigns supreme. It is difficult to try to find some balance in my mind between the unanalyzed raw experience of the mystical experience (which is what draws me to these podcasts) and the scientific/technical philosophy approach to analyzing them.
Dan I wrote a reply to Michael's post could you look at it and answer if possible
Blaise
 
Had a chance to listen to the podcast again, and it had me looking at Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on Wikipedia. I thought this passage speaks to why the "falsifiability" angles in the interview (and in other venues with actually scientists) don't produce the desired result:

[According to Kuhn] observations that are intended to falsify a statement will fall under one of the paradigms they are supposed to help compare, and will therefore be inadequate for the task. ... In the practice of science, scientists will only consider the possibility that a theory has been falsified if an alternative theory is available that they judge credible. If there is not, scientists will continue to adhere to the established conceptual framework...
Related to the issue of falsifiability, you might find this blog post interesting. If true, it shows that scientists often create or support theories that are unfalsifiable, so it's nonsense to maintain that a scientific theory is solely one that is falsifiable. The author posits that a truly scientific theory is one that can EITHER be falsified OR verified.

Insisting that only falsifiability can make a theory scientific is a convenient device that enables scientists to maintain that any evidence confirming a theory, however extensive, doesn't make that theory scientific. In this way, they can reject any theory they don't like, such as the existence of psi, despite considerable evidence for it.

At the same time, hypocritically, they rarely actually try to falsify theories they do like, instead looking for confirmatory evidence, however slight. Hence the brouhaha over a recent picture purporting to be visual evidence for a black hole. IMO, the picture could be of anything, really; there'd need to be a lot more evidence to convince me black holes existed.

"Evidence" like this reminds me of pareidolia: seeing patterns in clouds, for example. No one is saying that such a recognisable pattern doesn't exist, and can even be photographed, but at the same time it can't be taken as definitive proof that a particular interpretation of its significance is true.

Contrast this with the much more extensive evidence provided by Halton Arp in his Atlas Of Peculiar Galaxies, which can be used to support his theory about quasars being young galaxies relatively nearby rather than very energetic objects immensely more distant. His idea is widely rejected because it's not favoured on the grounds that confirmatory evidence for a theory is never enough. But it's enough, even when paltry, when it comes to supporting the favoured theory of black holes.
 
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Falsifiability is an ignoratio elenchi construct in this context, yes.

It is a diversion, crafted from three valid principles of science, posed in an amateurish framework of rhetoric.

1. The task of science is to falsify the null hypothesis​
2. Popper demarcation resides along the dividing lines of deduction and induction (see below).​
3. Hempel's Paradox - one cannot inductively prove an absence (modus absens)​

The matter is the bootstrap strength of the form (vertical) of inference employed, along with the modus context (horizontal) in which it is employed. Most official pseudo-science, including imperious doctrines of absence (what we fight), is passed off as 'consensus' because of our lack of understanding of how inference works.

We are fooled by inference bedazzlement. That is, unless you prepare in advance - then you can spot a pretender posing agency, very quickly.

Map of Inference Draw.png
 
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Dan I wrote a reply to Michael's post could you look at it and answer if possible
Blaise
You are so right Michael
I thought I was well down the road to deprogramming myself but its clear after reading your stuff have only just scratched the surface, its heartening and disheartening at the same time.I wish I could honestly say I could trust my own logic but with all the subtle programming we all get is that even possible? Do you think there is even a core of "just and universal"truths to enable one to logic through matters or do you have to incrementally get there?
Hi Blaise, I'm happy to respond to your comment to Michael.

In terms of your comments about feeling disheartened by programming ... I guess for me, if I feel disheartened or despair, I try to remember that while there are people trying their hardest to influence the course of events in ways that I would find morally wrong or unjust, I think that there are also a lot of really good people who are trying their hardest to be honest and truthful and good. I'm probably not a great person to respond to that particular question, because I don't see things in terms of programming. I think that ever since our ancient ancestors developed language, people have been trying to influence each other. The main difference is that today, we obviously live in industrial society with huge populations, great wealth, mass media, powerful technologies, etc. But even with all of that, I think any kind of immoral or unjust activity comes from the same "flawed" parts of people that we have always had. And still we persevere as people. Sometimes it gets pretty damn ugly, but hopefully we come through to something positive and good from time to time. I haven't been particularly politically active for years now, but I do make an effort to get out and talk to my neighbors. I live in a dense neighborhood, and just getting out and shooting the breeze with my neighbors now that the weather is getting nice where I live is helpful in terms of being aware of local concerns about crime, etc. We may not all share the same perspectives on politics, spirituality, etc, but we do all have a common interest in keeping an eye on the neighborhood and being a presence, so I think things like that help me keep my feet on the ground if I'm in danger of getting sucked too far down into my own little inner rabbit holes. ;)

Do you think there is even a core of "just and universal"truths to enable one to logic through matters or do you have to incrementally get there?
What I have been working with lately is the idea that the meaning I experience in my life is sacred, my consciousness is sacred, my life is important, it means something ... I steadfastly refuse to sink into nihilism, and that is a nice part about Alex and the skeptiko podcast, I like Alex's steadfast insistence that we are not "biological robots in a meaningless universe." All I know is that all of this is sacred and it is of value and it means something, even when it feels like it doesn't. I have been experimenting with this "hard agnosticism" and so I won't speculate as to how or why all of this means something, I'm just taking it as my "free miracle" that my existence and everybody's existence is sacred.

One other thing I have been thinking about---it's kind of a big topic, but I tend to think that everything in experience stands for something else. For instance, the sensory images I have in my mind are "translations" of the what I'm looking at in the world. The picture I have is somehow a different thing than the objects that I'm seeing. I think the same is true on some weird level for different thoughts I have. Sometimes my thoughts are kind of translations of deeper, more primal emotions. Say I see a couple people at work who are jerks who threw me under the bus in the past, and I see them whispering with each other, and immediately I get this idea in my head that they are talking about me and planning to screw me over again. The thought is basically a "translation" of some emotional crap I'm carrying around about them because they screwed me over on the last project we worked on. In these kinds of instances, I find it to be extremely helpful to talk to my girlfriend or my friend about it, because they can help me see that my thinking about the situation may not be right. I have been reflecting about my reasons for coming to this forum lately, and I think there's probably some pretty deep emotional reasons for it, you know? Even though I have some other, more surface level reasons that I usually tell myself. I mean, sometimes the gut feelings we have that influence our thoughts are super important and spot on, but sometimes, at least for me, the thoughts I have about things are way off, and it usually takes some talking to trusted people to help me see where my thinking has potentially gone off the rails, which it definately does from time to time. And that's not to say that I'm some well-balanced person, because I still have plenty of personal problems.

Another point to make is that people can get "burned out" -- it happens to politially active people, it happens to people in "helping professions" and it can happen to people with their online activities. The solution I know of is to unplug a bit, if at all possible, and try to do something else for a period of time and get the mind focused on something else. Hopefully an activity that is less intense and that feels like it gives some energy back instead of sucking up energy. People can get kind of emotionally trapped in whatever is burning them out, and end up feeling guilty or uncomfortable with idea of taking a break ... but if it's possible, it can be helpful I think if one is feeling disheartened, etc.
 
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Related to the issue of falsifiability, you might find this blog post interesting. If true, it shows that scientists often create or support theories that are unfalsifiable, so it's nonsense to maintain that a scientific theory is solely one that is falsifiable. The author posits that a truly scientific theory is one that can EITHER be falsified OR verified.
But how do we falsify or verify a theory? I have a real issue with the notion that 'Science' is the arbiter of the real. I was routinely 'falsifying' materialistic theories about the nature of human reality through direct paranormal experiences that flatly contradicted those theories. But my experiences could not be dignified as 'scientific' because it had been agreed that what an individual experienced was, of itself, insufficient to establish any sense of reality.

From a personal perspective that is plainly idiotic. How could I contravene scientific norms and be (a) sane and (b) high functioning? Surelythat level of apprent dysfunction would apparent. And yet I am both sane and high functioning. The fact that my direct experience falsifies the materialistic proposition does not perturb its adherents because they have the escape clause of considering me mad or stupid, despite manifest evidence to the contrary. My experience is 'subjective' and hence does not qualify as 'real' because it is not, and cannot, be shared.

I deeply remember losing my virginity. The only reason that means anything to you is because you have had a similar experience. But losing one's virginity can never be repeatable or shared. If we are to accept the picture of science give to us, it is as if there is a community of virgins who cannot imagine any other state of being and who then not only deny there is something beyond, but passionately lobby to deny that such can ever be.

Science is the disciplined persuit of knowledge and nothing more or less. The idea that there is some external agency that can set the rules for such a persuit is absurd. The reality is that genuine truth seekers know each other, because the passion for knowledge is expressed in character. If that persuit concerns only specific areas of inquiry that demand a disciplined approach then rules related to such inquiry are created by mutual assent - because they are useful.

Science is not just what 'scientists' do. A particular scope of materialistic inquiry has captured that name, and thinks that it owns the definition. It does not. Science is also what artists do, what poets do, what authors do. Obviously not always to a high degree - but then we don't hear much about the lame and crap 'science' that is perpetrated routinely.

Anybody who engages in a disciplined inquiry does 'science'. We have to get over the BS spin that the only 'real' scientists are material scientists, or inquirers who conform to the materialistic vision of knowledge seeking.

It is fair and reasonable that you claim to be engaged in disciplined inquiry is independently assessed. I have a Masters and a Masters Honours science degrees in Social Ecology. Some have told me bluntly these are not 'proper' science degrees because Social Ecology is not a 'science'. I get the objection, but its silly. I would argue that Dali, Picasso and Monet should qualify as art 'scientists' precisely because they engaged in deeply disciplined inquiry. Such artists ground their own pigments. How many 'scientists' these days make their own test tubes?

These days academic establishments hand out 'honourary' doctrates to people who have not been formally assessed as meeting certain standards. Life experience and attainment of certain offices are sufficient to convince awarders that their decisions are valid - and maybe political too.

I came to academia late in life. I entered a Masters program (in applied science) because I was able to convincely argue that my life and professional experiences at least equalled a Bachelor's degree.

Academia distinguishes between 'academic' and 'applied' to acknowledge that actually doing stuff has value, and generates expertise that is on a par, at least, with academic study. I can say that fusing life/work experience with formal academic inquiry is intensely useful, but the fact that doing so may result in an academic qualification does not mean that such a qualification validates the life/work experience. It does not. What it does do is add spice to the life/work experience that is helpful in some instances. Summing up one's extensive professional experience in a degree can be handy.

Academic acceptance of life/work experience as a contribution toward a degree tells me that 'science' has more to do with competence than any inherent academic experience.

So you don't need to go any where near a university to be a 'scientist' - if that means engagement in disciplined inquiry. But if you want an independent adjudication on your competence in that area you will need an assessment.

Does that mean you can call yourself a 'scientist' without independent validation? Of course. But don't be offended if you are asked to justify such a claim and you can't. The title still has inappropriate associations, and will have for a long time to come.
 
As much as I love science, and fully believe in the scientific method, I actually trust our conscious experiences more. All that we know is through our consciousness. We have to trust our experiences. I think it’s abundantly clear what’s going on with NDEs. And I don’t think the claim is extraordinary. That’s because I don’t accept materialism a-priori. I think materialism flies in the face of reason and in the face of all the data. In that sense, I find the materialistic dying brain explanation to be the more extraordinary claim here.

I disagree with anybody who says that the burden of proof lies with those making the spiritual claim because I reject materialism as the base “rational a-priori” assumption, where everything else needs to climb an uphill battle to prove itself against materialism. Materialism gets a free pass and doesn’t need to prove anything, apparently. But if we don’t give materialism a free pass, and we just objectively look at these experiences, and we see how it is facilitated through the reincarnation studies, after death communication etc etc etc, it seems to me that the a-priori explanation is the spiritual one.

That said I fully agree that NDEs are not scientifically proven to be afterlife experiences, in the same mathematical sense that Australia is proven to exist. So it is important to attempt to establish scientific proof. And I have to agree that we do not have STRICT scientific proof. Then again, for pondering purposes, depending upon ones idea of what proof entails, I think we can confidently state that these experiences are real.

And for philosophical and life purposes, people act as if that if something is not scientifically proven, that it’s unlikely to be true. I think that’s an extremely erroneous way to think.
 
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Hi Blaise, I'm happy to respond to your comment to Michael.

In terms of your comments about feeling disheartened by programming ... I guess for me, if I feel disheartened or despair, I try to remember that while there are people trying their hardest to influence the course of events in ways that I would find morally wrong or unjust, I think that there are also a lot of really good people who are trying their hardest to be honest and truthful and good. I'm probably not a great person to respond to that particular question, because I don't see things in terms of programming. I think that ever since our ancient ancestors developed language, people have been trying to influence each other. The main difference is that today, we obviously live in industrial society with huge populations, great wealth, mass media, powerful technologies, etc. But even with all of that, I think any kind of immoral or unjust activity comes from the same "flawed" parts of people that we have always had. And still we persevere as people. Sometimes it gets pretty damn ugly, but hopefully we come through to something positive and good from time to time. I haven't been particularly politically active for years now, but I do make an effort to get out and talk to my neighbors. I live in a dense neighborhood, and just getting out and shooting the breeze with my neighbors now that the weather is getting nice where I live is helpful in terms of being aware of local concerns about crime, etc. We may not all share the same perspectives on politics, spirituality, etc, but we do all have a common interest in keeping an eye on the neighborhood and being a presence, so I think things like that help me keep my feet on the ground if I'm in danger of getting sucked too far down into my own little inner rabbit holes. ;)


What I have been working with lately is the idea that the meaning I experience in my life is sacred, my consciousness is sacred, my life is important, it means something ... I steadfastly refuse to sink into nihilism, and that is a nice part about Alex and the skeptiko podcast, I like Alex's steadfast insistence that we are not "biological robots in a meaningless universe." All I know is that all of this is sacred and it is of value and it means something, even when it feels like it doesn't. I have been experimenting with this "hard agnosticism" and so I won't speculate as to how or why all of this means something, I'm just taking it as my "free miracle" that my existence and everybody's existence is sacred.

One other thing I have been thinking about---it's kind of a big topic, but I tend to think that everything in experience stands for something else. For instance, the sensory images I have in my mind are "translations" of the what I'm looking at in the world. The picture I have is somehow a different thing than the objects that I'm seeing. I think the same is true on some weird level for different thoughts I have. Sometimes my thoughts are kind of translations of deeper, more primal emotions. Say I see a couple people at work who are jerks who threw me under the bus in the past, and I see them whispering with each other, and immediately I get this idea in my head that they are talking about me and planning to screw me over again. The thought is basically a "translation" of some emotional crap I'm carrying around about them because they screwed me over on the last project we worked on. In these kinds of instances, I find it to be extremely helpful to talk to my girlfriend or my friend about it, because they can help me see that my thinking about the situation may not be right. I have been reflecting about my reasons for coming to this forum lately, and I think there's probably some pretty deep emotional reasons for it, you know? Even though I have some other, more surface level reasons that I usually tell myself. I mean, sometimes the gut feelings we have that influence our thoughts are super important and spot on, but sometimes, at least for me, the thoughts I have about things are way off, and it usually takes some talking to trusted people to help me see where my thinking has potentially gone off the rails, which it definately does from time to time. And that's not to say that I'm some well-balanced person, because I still have plenty of personal problems.

Another point to make is that people can get "burned out" -- it happens to politially active people, it happens to people in "helping professions" and it can happen to people with their online activities. The solution I know of is to unplug a bit, if at all possible, and try to do something else for a period of time and get the mind focused on something else. Hopefully an activity that is less intense and that feels like it gives some energy back instead of sucking up energy. People can get kind of emotionally trapped in whatever is burning them out, and end up feeling guilty or uncomfortable with idea of taking a break ... but if it's possible, it can be helpful I think if one is feeling disheartened, etc.
Thanks,Dan
Blaise
 
As much as I love science, and fully believe in the scientific method, I actually trust our conscious experiences more. All that we know is through our consciousness. We have to trust our experiences. I think it’s abundantly clear what’s going on with NDEs. And I don’t think the claim is extraordinary. That’s because I don’t accept materialism a-priori. I think materialism flies in the face of reason and in the face of all the data. In that sense, I find the materialistic dying brain explanation to be the more extraordinary claim here.
Well said Wormwood, and this pertains exactly to this TJump conversation. We as a group of researchers if you will, have to understand - and insist upon the religious community, that falsification/deduction is NOT an instance of 'anecdote' in the pejorative. Our anecdotes are falsifying/deductive in nature - with respect to the Null. I call it the 'Null' because usually in this type of deliberation, the Null Hypothesis is not actually a hypothesis at all. It is simply a placeholder.

Our opponents elevate that placeholder and pretend that it actually possesses a scientific definition and consensus acceptance. Two magician's tricks that those who do not understand the context of inference fall-for over and over.

Inductive inference is the context wherein a supporting story is an anecdote. (The plural of anecdote is not data - although this apothegm can be incorrect even under induction)
Null: Dimmer switches do not cause house fires to any degree greater than normal flip light switches.​
Inductive Anecdote: My neighbor had dimmer switches and they caused a fire in his house.​
Deductive inference leading to also, falsification. (The plural of anecdote is data)
1. Null: There is no such thing as a dimmer switch.​
2. Deductive Anecdote: See a dimmer switch in the store - get a pic of it.​
3. Falsification: Electrician installs dimmer switch in your house.​
What Wormwood's 'accept materialism a priori' statement pertains to, are those who insert their religion between step 2 and step 3 above, and forbid any professional electrician from installing any dimmer switches (or they will lose their license). In this way - dimmer switches can never 'exist' and deniers endlessly can proclaim to non-electricians 'you bear the burden of proof' (see Proof Gaming) - further then deeming all step 2's 'anecdotes' and failing to distinguish between inductive and deductive contexts therein.

Our allies and co-observers do not bear the knowledge of philosophy of science (skepticism) sufficient to stand up and and say "No - what you are doing is pseudoscience". Hence, one of my reasons for creating The Map of Inference.
 
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That said I fully agree that NDEs are not scientifically proven to be afterlife experiences, in the same mathematical sense that Australia is proven to exist. So it is important to attempt to establish scientific proof. And I have to agree that we do not have STRICT scientific proof. Then again, for pondering purposes, depending upon ones idea of what proof entails, I think we can confidently state that these experiences are real.
If you mean by "scientifically proven" a narrow definition of science and proof I can agree with you. A process of 'scientific' inquiry predicated upon a set of materialist assumptions maybe cannot prove - or disprove NDEs. So is it 'scientific' to use methodology that is not fit for purpose? I suggest not.

Maybe the 'proper' scientific method is a different kind of inquiry - other than poking around a brain. Why do you think that what leads you to "confidently state that these experiences are real" is not 'scientific'?

When you take out the materialistic elements of my Oxford dictionary app's definition of science you are still left with a 'systematic study...through observation and experiment" What has been redacted here is "structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world" because these words create a bias based on presumptions. All the complex messy stuff is neatly omitted from the definition of science - that which we have labels as non-physical (metaphysical) and supernatural. That's just opinion - and never good ones at that.

Sometimes experimentation is not appropriate. By their very definition NDEs are hardly the kind of thing an ethics committee would agree might be part of an experiment. On the other hand OOBEs are experimented with. Systematic studies of NDEs have been conducted. There is consistent evidence, at least the grounds for argument, that NDEs are genuine experiences. What in these studies fail the definition of science?

A NDE researcher unfamiliar with OOBEs might erroneously assume that the state of the physical body is a determining factor. For OOBEs there is a necessary retained connection with the physical body. Let us assume the same is true of NDEs. There is no doubt that human consciousness is modified by its association with the physical body - creating a primary frame of reference that is known to persist for some 'time' after death - until the reference ceases to have any utility. In that sense it might be fair to say that the brain 'causes' a modification of consciousness (along with the heart).

Any science based on materialism can't be 'science' in any proper pure sense because it is based upon a philosophical assertion - a metaphysical guess. However if we take science to be a methodology it does not matter what philosophical or metaphysical assertions are made during the process of inquiry - even if they frame the questions asked and shape the scope of the inquiry. But part of what we know as science is also interpretation of findings and placing them in a grander scheme of thought. But this activity does not match the definition of science - except the redacted portion above frames the scheme of thought.

So this is our problem. We have a definition of science which incorporates a set of assumptions that shape and limit inquiry - and which invalidate whatever does not fit into the frame created. We can choose to accommodate that essentially political definition or we can reject it. But in rejecting the definition we are not rejecting science. Neither should we be induced into accommodating the idiotic notion of psuedo-science - unless the devotees of materialism are prepared to confess that their POV is also pseudo-science. From a methodological perspective it is either real science or it ain't science. You can't assert one set of metaphysical assumptions to be proper science and all the rest to be pseudo-science. Well, you can, but doing so is not reasonable and scarcely rational.

What all this comes down to is a dispute about what is or is not valid inquiry. The opposition to NDEs arises because if they are validated the whole materialistic facade crumbles. But there are thousands of things that can do that.

The only way to affirm that consciousness is generated by the brain is to invalidate every instance of evidence that points to a contrary position. So that means that the conclusion (consciousness is generated but the brain) is formed and affirmed before evidence supports the propostion, and despite the presence of evidence that refutes it. That approach may meet the definition of science as it is presently framed, but it has no value in truth seeking.

Some will assert that this approach is a robust method of inquiry because it forces truth to be affirmed against strong and disciplined doubt. But this is just BS and nobody should be fooled by it. Why doubt? Why not accept and investigate? Why is one approach less of a risk than then other? Why is doubt safer or smarter than acceptance? There's that old saying "Faint heart ne'er won fair lady." Why esteem fear over courage?

Sometimes I think materialists imagine that they are so clever and they can play hard to get - and truth will come to them pleading and submissive. That's an adolescent fantasy.

in the Wisdom Tradition wisdom is female (Sophia) and she does not come pleading to be embraced. She has no need, which is why she is so often depicted as a virgin. She cannot be enticed, lured or cajoled or bought or tricked or commanded or seduced.

The seeking of wisdom meets the proper definition of science very neatly (systematic inquiry...through observation and experiment). In essence wisdom is self-knowledge (so you see why none of the tricks can work on her) - as opposed to other knowledge. Both can be scientific.
 
I thought I was well down the road to deprogramming myself but its clear after reading your stuff have only just scratched the surface, its heartening and disheartening at the same time.I wish I could honestly say I could trust my own logic but with all the subtle programming we all get is that even possible? Do you think there is even a core of "just and universal"truths to enable one to logic through matters or do you have to incrementally get there?
I dont think the intellectual stuff works as well as it is cracked up to be. I have come to see that this part of our materialistic conditioning that distracts us from Heart stuff. There is a present passion for The Brain as if that is the focal organ of our physical being - but if you look deeper into our culture The Heart has at least the same esteem - but we ignore it. Its not part of science in the way the brain is - so we discount its essential role in shaping our consciousness. The ancients asserted the soul connected to the physical body via heart and brain.

These days Heart is making a comeback in a big way - but if we are head focused we misunderstand what is going on.

They also understood that there was the way of love/wisdom and the way of intellect, with the latter serving the former. Our idea of mind really replaced the idea of psyche (soul) when materialism began to rise to ascendancy - and that same momentum debased reason into intellect. Reasoning was the means by which we became conscious of soul - and its is not something that is amenable to intellect or logic on their own.

There was a wisdom tradition as an intentional practice, but these days we seem to stumble upon it - usually when intellect is failing us and we are despairing. And sometimes it is when we get a kick in the backside for being so stupid. I was monumentally stupid. I got hit with an auto-immune disease that nearly killed me and left me with an enduring disability. You find wisdom in funny places - if you are unlucky or stupid. But I do have to confess that if I had a time machine and I go back to 8 April 2008 and change how things turned out I probably wouldn't

I am a huge fan of a neat little book called The Sirach. You can google a PDF. It has been owned by Christians quite unreasonably, so the translations are a bit distorted. Here's a quote from one of the sites - Two centuries before Christ, Jesus, son of Sirach, wrote this book, which is a synthesis of the traditions and teachings of the “sages”. It is actually a deep distillation of the Wisdom tradition. It speaks to the Heart and, if you let it, starts to restore the balance.
 
in the Wisdom Tradition wisdom is female (Sophia) and she does not come pleading to be embraced. She has no need, which is why she is so often depicted as a virgin. She cannot be enticed, lured or cajoled or bought or tricked or commanded or seduced.
Materialist Sociology has long feared, hence derided any woman who does not 'need' a man, especially by her (unavailable) sexuality. She comes on her own terms.

I knew Sophia meant wisdom, but not that there was a Goddess. I once met an elderly italian Sophie sweeping her front door step on a leafy melbourne street. She blatantly gave me two loaves of bread and predicted my imminent motherhood. I was on my way with a bottle of red wine to meet the man who quite soon after became their father. I was 38 by then so had pretty much given up (of course being irresponsible with(out) contraceptives and relying on coitus interruptus was a necessary component)

There is a sense of wonder and resonance of truth in such events that needs no 'scientific' proof, or requires a different state of perception which the materialist do not have.
 
Edison was a lying cheat.
And why (the hell) should any new idea, for e.g. in the last 200 years, have to go through a 19th century materialist monitor to achieve efficacy on their terms? It's completely on its head. Materialist scientists box the paradigm then deny, dismiss, disparage anything that doesn't fit in it. Instead of gathering information and seeing what we've got. They are a parody of themselves! Then fall back on some vaguely imminent research based on "not knowing yet". For e.g. let's wait 160 years before we finally concede there is no 'missing link'. Sure it's a nice little earner for those who get paid to procrastinate, but what a waste of time.

Talking or listening to the TJumps is taking them too seriously and encouraging them to entrench (whilst absorb energy from the attention)
I would have sworn a lot more
 
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