How can Alex be so firm in his stance? Objectivity has gone out the window

#1
I am not even sure where this post should go, but I believe this is the most appropriate section. I hope Alex reads this and responds to it.

One thing that I do not understand when it comes to the consciousness debate, is how people can seem so firmly placed on either side of the fence.

Sometimes when I listen to Alex talk, it seems he is no different than the harsh materialists defending their point of view, rather than standing in objectivity. I suppose we all do this to an extent, some more and some less; however, for someone who is constantly pointing out the fact that OTHERS are doing this, would make me believe or at least hope, Alex would be more aware than your "average" person of when HE is doing the same thing.

Take for example some relatively recent findings relating to consciousness. Stories about individuals who were believed to be, for lack of a better term, "vegetables" , yet are able to show brain responses to visualizing them playing tennis. Reports of people being dead for hours and then coming back to life, such as a recent story in the news about a person who was "cold to the touch" and already entering the state of "rigomortis." (sp). Spikes of brain activity at or around the time of cardiac arrest.

Before I decided to post these questions, I had more examples, which are eluding me now. I bet other members in this forum can think of many more. But the point that I am trying to make is that, it is very obvious that we seemingly know very little about consciousness and how the brain works. But those that accept that position, automatically, at least more often than not, tend to assume that the brain must not be able to account for these experiences and their has to be another explanation. Why does the fact we do not understand a lot about the brain or consciousness have to mean that the brain does not generate it then? It has just as much potential of showing that the brain can and does generate these experiences, but we have no idea how.

My main contention and topic for discussion is how does Alex, or others, seem to sit so firmly on either side of the fence, when it seems as more studies come out, and more research is done, we simply have to admit we have no idea what is going on. We can speculate or form conclusions based on what we currently know, but to say we know one way or the other and be so hard headed in that belief to ridicule others, is silly.

The biggest pet peeve I have with Alex is how certain he feels "consciousness science" or "near death experience science" proves that materialism is false. He seems to be defending a belief or hope in something rather than the objective stance of simply admitting , "wow there are some interesting things going on here, no matter how you look at it, and there is a lot more we need to learn before we can reach any definitive conclusions."

The title of the book, Science is wrong about almost everything, is crazy. Maybe Alex should live in a hut in the middle of the woods. Forget computers, podcasts, tv, cars, mircowaves, stoves, and pretty much every single thing that gives us a good life and makes it easier on us. You can thank science for all that. Medicine, healing, doctors, living a long life, treating disease. Science is to be thanked for that too. Doesnt seem like science is wrong about everything..not even close.
 
#2
Evidence of the afterlife
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_afterlife

Nobel Prize winners Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Brian Josephson, Sir John Eccles, Eugene Wigner, George Wald and other great scientists and philosophers such as John von Neumann, Kurt Gödel, Wernher von Braun, Karl Popper, and Carl Jung believed consciousness is non-physical because of the evidence:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers

My experiences taking classes in mediumship
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/psi_experience
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-is-it-like-to-communicate-with.html


Evidence of ESP
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/04/proof-of-esp-1889-1997.html

Evidence of God
Fine-tuning of the universe:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-fine-tuning-of-universe-to-one-part.html

The multiverse doesn't explain it:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/08/multiverse-theories-fail-to-explain-our.html

Many scientists believed the evidence that the universe was designed. These scientists include Nobel prize winners such as Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow, and other scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, and Louis Pasteur.
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers


More Cosmology
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_cosmology

NDErs meet God
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/evidence-that-god-exists-people-who.html

Realizing the Ultimate
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/realizing-ultimate.html

More
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_god

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles on Psi
http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

Reincarnation Research, Stevenson and others...
http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/cl...ychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/publications-page

JSE Research Articles
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/articles.html

The Geller Papers
http://www.uri-geller.com/books/geller-papers/gpap.htm

http://www.opensciences.org/papers

Materialism is not a rational philosophy:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies#skeptical_fallacies_materialism_rational

Skeptical Misdirection
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_misdirection
 
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#3
I can't speak for Alex. However, when you suggest,
"wow there are some interesting things going on here, no matter how you look at it, and there is a lot more we need to learn before we can reach any definitive conclusions."
perhaps one might ask the complementary question, such as why are you so vague or uncertain in your stance?

My point really is that we all adopt a position. You feel yours is the right one, Alex feels his is. Who is to decide which of you is correct?
 
#5
I am not even sure where this post should go, but I believe this is the most appropriate section. I hope Alex reads this and responds to it.

One thing that I do not understand when it comes to the consciousness debate, is how people can seem so firmly placed on either side of the fence.
- What to you constitutes objectivity in this case?

- Do you understand that the "comapriosn" you seek to make between "we don't know exactly what but we know there's more to the world than this island we're on" and "there's nothing in the world other than this island" is as flawed and false as matarialism.

- There is a fence, but there isn't an "on either side of it." The fence is around a tiny corral sitting somewhere in a vast extant. That corral is materialism.

What Alex is doing is what is needed. Focusing on all the various evidence that may nudge more people to flee that corral.
 
#8
I am not even sure where this post should go, but I believe this is the most appropriate section. I hope Alex reads this and responds to it.
If you want Alex to see this, it should probably be in the Skeptiko Shows forum. There are a few threads there that aren't about a specific show.
 
#9
I think Bill33 raises some valid points. I also think the same issues could be applied to a lot of areas of so-called paranormal research and similar genres. Many of us can agree there is something resembling evidence that can be cited and deserves study, but proponents of one school of thought or other demand we interpret such evidence to be indicative of supporting their pet theory. It doesn't necessarily.
 
#10
I think there is pretty near unanimity among the regs on this forum (proponent and skeptic) that the existing research has produced some intriguing results and deserve more study.

I don't think there is anything wrong in having a favoured interpretation, even strongly in favour. There's nothing wrong with advocating for one interpretation or another, even vigorously so. I think the trouble hits when we become too attached to it. If we find ourselves getting angry at others for not accepting our position. Worse, when consider others to be bad people because they don't accept our position.

These feelings, while natural, should alert us to the possibility that we have become too emotionally attached to our preferred view and that this serves to increase our bias, making us less open to other ideas.

It's not an easy thing to do however. Becoming mindful of it is just the start.
 
#11
I think there is pretty near unanimity among the regs on this forum (proponent and skeptic) that the existing research has produced some intriguing results and deserve more study.

I don't think there is anything wrong in having a favoured interpretation, even strongly in favour. There's nothing wrong with advocating for one interpretation or another, even vigorously so. I think the trouble hits when we become too attached to it. If we find ourselves getting angry at others for not accepting our position. Worse, when consider others to be bad people because they don't accept our position.

These feelings, while natural, should alert us to the possibility that we have become too emotionally attached to our preferred view and that this serves to increase our bias, making us less open to other ideas.

It's not an easy thing to do however. Becoming mindful of it is just the start.
... or if you are trying to convince others from your stance, thats pretty bad too. Its all about respecting the position of others. That does not necessarily mean that you have to accept them.
 
#12
... or if you are trying to convince others from your stance, thats pretty bad too. Its all about respecting the position of others. That does not necessarily mean that you have to accept them.
I'm not sure I'm quite reading you correctly. If you're saying one should never try and convince someone that our view is correct and theirs is incorrect, I don't agree. Context matters. There are many times where it is completely appropriate, other times where it is not. In the context of a discussion forum explicitly created in order to have debates of this type I think its usually appropriate. Barging up to someone on the street and proceeding to launch into a diatribe against their position? Not so much! Even in a forum context matters. For example, forum etiquette usually permits an OP to set certain rules for a thread. And certain subforums may also be reasonably assigned rules that limit certain kinds of argument.

Respecting someone position does not mean, in my opinion, not critiquing it. Respecting someone's position, I would submit, means taking it seriously. Assessing it carefully and providing a serious and thoughtful response.

Again, for all of this context matters. Conduct that is completely appropriate in one circumstance may be boorish in another.
 
#13
I'm not sure I'm quite reading you correctly. If you're saying one should never try and convince someone that our view is correct and theirs is incorrect, I don't agree. Context matters. There are many times where it is completely appropriate, other times where it is not. In the context of a discussion forum explicitly created in order to have debates of this type I think its usually appropriate. Barging up to someone on the street and proceeding to launch into a diatribe against their position? Not so much! Even in a forum context matters. For example, forum etiquette usually permits an OP to set certain rules for a thread. And certain subforums may also be reasonably assigned rules that limit certain kinds of argument.

Respecting someone position does not mean, in my opinion, not critiquing it. Respecting someone's position, I would submit, means taking it seriously. Assessing it carefully and providing a serious and thoughtful response.

Again, for all of this context matters. Conduct that is completely appropriate in one circumstance may be boorish in another.
Nope, i guess we pretty much agree with each other there. I propably didnt write correctly what i was talking about, but i agree with your first section here.

Oh i never wrote that. Critizing others is good and necessary. But just as you stated before - there are boundaries to how far someone should go with that. Drastically attacking a other position and e.g. stating that it all is pure garbage isnt productive.

And by respecting the position of others im talking about respecting that it is the opinion of that person we are discussing with. You dont have to agree with it, of course not, but the other person takes it seriously. For him/her it is a valid opinion if not the only valid one. But thats propably what you mean by context. We cant just always attack others blindly.
 
#14
Nope, i guess we pretty much agree with each other there. I propably didnt write correctly what i was talking about, but i agree with your first section here.

Oh i never wrote that. Critizing others is good and necessary. But just as you stated before - there are boundaries to how far someone should go with that. Drastically attacking a other position and e.g. stating that it all is pure garbage isnt productive.

And by respecting the position of others im talking about respecting that it is the opinion of that person we are discussing with. You dont have to agree with it, of course not, but the other person takes it seriously. For him/her it is a valid opinion if not the only valid one. But thats propably what you mean by context. We cant just always attack others blindly.
Yep, I agree with all of this!
 
#15
I can't speak for Alex. However, when you suggest,

perhaps one might ask the complementary question, such as why are you so vague or uncertain in your stance?

My point really is that we all adopt a position. You feel yours is the right one, Alex feels his is. Who is to decide which of you is correct?
Thank you for that food for thought. A good question indeed. I am very uncertain in my stance. I know I want to believe in all this stuff so bad. The idea of an afterlife, seeing loved ones again, a deeper meaning and purpose to life. I hope that is all true. Then I hear or read stories like I mentioned in my original post, and it creates a lot of doubt in my mind. It's almost as if I would rather not believe in this stuff than to believe in it, and at some point read, hear or in some other way find out, so to speak, that I was wrong and none of this is real, and experience the let down and inevitable emotional upset that it would cause. I know maybe what I said seems like a contradiction, saying I want to believe it on one hand, and then saying I don't on the other. But I just mean that it would bother me greatly if I allowed myself to believe and then experience the "crushing blow" of realizing it's not real, and having to deal with that. It's almost like it's too good to be true and I'd rather not accept it , than accept it and later find out I was wrong. If that makes any sense.
 
#16
Given there is existence in the first place I find rather mind boggling. That in itself gives me hope.

But I see nothing wrong with questioning the nature of existence. The problem I have is when others insist you believe what they believe, or insist they have the truth and no one else can be right but them. And then they go on a crusade to wipe out opposing beliefs. Take Skeptic materialists ...

My Best,
Bertha
 
#17
When I need a boost in favour of this reality being more than 'just chance', I turn away from NDE's, consciousness studies and other subjective stuff that is hard to prove by scientific papers. I return to reading about the weird world of Quantum Physics and the Double Slit etc.

Materialist scientists must squirm when the subject comes up, because experiments keep proving that reality appears MUCH weirder than anything chance could produce. When, eventually, the current materialist madness is overturned, I remember the line being added to Gandhi's quote by someone.......

First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
Then you win
And the truth seems suddenly obvious ?
 
#18
Thank you for that food for thought. A good question indeed. I am very uncertain in my stance. I know I want to believe in all this stuff so bad. The idea of an afterlife, seeing loved ones again, a deeper meaning and purpose to life. I hope that is all true. Then I hear or read stories like I mentioned in my original post, and it creates a lot of doubt in my mind. It's almost as if I would rather not believe in this stuff than to believe in it, and at some point read, hear or in some other way find out, so to speak, that I was wrong and none of this is real, and experience the let down and inevitable emotional upset that it would cause. I know maybe what I said seems like a contradiction, saying I want to believe it on one hand, and then saying I don't on the other. But I just mean that it would bother me greatly if I allowed myself to believe and then experience the "crushing blow" of realizing it's not real, and having to deal with that. It's almost like it's too good to be true and I'd rather not accept it , than accept it and later find out I was wrong. If that makes any sense.
Thank you for taking a constructive approach in your response.

One thing I might say is regarding this statement, "It's almost like it's too good to be true and I'd rather not accept it , than accept it and later find out I was wrong. If that makes any sense".

Something which I think holds people back is that they want to learn to swim before getting into the water. I'm of the view that the only way to engage with these issues which affect life itself, is to dive right in, rather than stand nervously on the sidelines hesitating and watching everyone else. My own personal view is that one won't find the answers by rational argument alone, one has to engage with the issues by living them.

One approach may include making a firm commitment to one view or another, and adhering firmly to that choice come what may. I find this problematic in many respects, regardless of which view is adopted.

Another way is to use life itself as an experimental testing ground, where one can try adhering to one view on a provisional basis, test it out, live by it and see how it works out. But don't stick rigidly to the view because it is 'right', only because it is a working hypothesis. At some point, perhaps in response to some external events precipitating some experience, one might try switching to an alternate view, and then try living according to that view and again, see how it works out.
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#19
Materialist scientists must squirm when the subject comes up, because experiments keep proving that reality appears MUCH weirder than anything chance could produce.
Seems to me that chance can produce something arbitrarily weird. On the other hand, if we infer a designer anything like us, things would be as simple as possible.

~~ Paul
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#20
Another way is to use life itself as an experimental testing ground, where one can try adhering to one view on a provisional basis, test it out, live by it and see how it works out. But don't stick rigidly to the view because it is 'right', only because it is a working hypothesis. At some point, perhaps in response to some external events precipitating some experience, one might try switching to an alternate view, and then try living according to that view and again, see how it works out.
I agree with what you say, although I don't understand why one has to "live according to that view." Just live.

~~ Paul
 
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