Interrupted Consciousness

Warning: I have only recently discovered Skeptiko and the controversial topics that go with it. I remain relatively agnostic to materialism and the mind=brain debate. I apologize if any questions I ask are basic concepts to the sharp minds on this forum. Now with the warning out of the way, let me continue with my question.

I found an article on why atheists still choose to believe in an afterlife. There, I found a point about consciousness that I wanted to be answered/debated here.

“The fact that we have long periods of unconsciousness when we are asleep should remind us that consciousness is not an uninterrupted phenomenon, and its interruptions are evidence that it might well not be a permanent one either. But for many, it is hard to imagine not existing at all.”

Any thoughts or rebuttals?

Here is the article:
Well obviously there are no absolute proofs either way. I guess I am one of the growing group of people who have left formal religion behind, but still suspect that consciousness does continue after death.

Do you remember anything about the time when you were 18 months old (or thereabouts)? Probably not, but I am sure you were conscious at that time, so that immediately complicates the argument that you pose, because in truth, we don't quite know what happens when we go to sleep, all we really know is that we don't remember much of that time.

Some people train themselves to remember more of their dreams (often as a way to experience lucid dreams - a topic you should explore), and of course, for them, the hours of sleep don't seem so empty. Experiments have even shown that not all dreams happen during REM sleep - so it isn't clear how much of the night we are genuinely unconscious.

However, if we are anaesthetised, we do seem to experience a complete gap in our consciousness. However, maybe even that is more about forgetting, because if something goes in the operation, and the heart stops, a proportion of people go on to experience a Near Death Experience (NDE). To me, that raises the possibility that our consciousness expands while we are anaesthetised, but we don't remember anything afterwards - just as we usually forget our dreams.

I checked, and the article you referred to, makes no reference to NDE's, which is pretty absurd, because these are fairly common (and don't all happen in a hospital setting), and generally involve a sense of separating from the body, viewing the scene as the doctors work to resuscitate you, and then enter a more transcendental phase, cut short when someone gets your heart beating again! Isn't it odd that people write articles like that, and omit the most interesting and amazing piece of evidence that suggests, on the contrary, that our consciousness does continue after death!

Most of us here don't go in for religious belief - the idea that there is some virtue in total belief - so this is a site for people with all sorts of views on these matters, but it does help to look at all of the relevant facts!

I totally agree with the points you made. I found it odd myself that the writers seemed to be completely unaware of NDE’s and OBE’s. I do suspect that some aspect of our consciousness does survive bodily death, based upon my own experiences with evps and spirit sightings.
Thank GOD there are periods when my consciousness is asleep. Were it not so, I would go bonkers, more bonkers than I already am.