PZ Meyers now happy to debate ndes

#6
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/04/24/the-nde-delusion/

This article here (which many will be familiar with) says it all. The grumpy git (with a chip on his shoulder) makes one sweeping statement after another. He then finally concedes that if someone did actually see something whilst it was verified that they were indeed comatose (or words to that effect) then that might be interesting. Very generous of him to concede that.

But it's 'never happened' of course. And he would know because whilst he's never read the literature, he doesn't need to. There's no such thing as soul/spirit/separable consciousness and anyone who says differently is a quantum-woo-spouting diddledingle !! What a guy ! !
 
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#7
Ad Hominem from a New Atheist?
Heh, while that comment was typical PZ, it wasn't technically an ad hominem - at least not if you meant it as a logical fallacy. Rude and insulting yes, but not used as a fallacious rebuttal of an argument! :).

Does remind me to get back to that NDE thread. I think there are more constructive ways to assess NDE research!
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#8
Heh, while that comment was typical PZ, it wasn't technically an ad hominem - at least not if you meant it as a logical fallacy. Rude and insulting yes, but not used as a fallacious rebuttal of an argument! :).

Does remind me to get back to that NDE thread. I think there are more constructive ways to assess NDE research!
Putting research in quotes is an ad hominem. As is the part about a madhouse w/ loons.

I'd say the context of the 2 quoted comments from PZ Myers is also relying on ad hominem.
 
#9
Putting research in quotes is an ad hominem. As is the part about a madhouse w/ loons.

I'd say the context of the 2 quoted comments from PZ Myers is also relying on ad hominem.
By putting research in quotes (ie: insinuating it is pseudo-research), calling the methodology lazy and the claims unjustified he's making an argument, not responding to one. It's a comment about the quality of the research, not an attack to the person making an argument.

By calling people here fools he's insulting the person but the comment is a refusal to engage an argument on this particular site, not a response to an argument. He's saying: I'll debate it, just not on Skeptiko. So not ad hom.

You can rightly accuse PZ of being a first class jerk here, just not a fallacious first class jerk! :)

By the way, while a debate may have a certain amount of entertainment value, as a means of serious discussion it is pretty limited.
 
#10
I slightly disagree because if PZ's reasoning abilities on ndes can be shown to be emotionally charged and suspect then it will get people thinking about what other areas of science is his reasoning emotionally charh d by. His atheism ;)
Hint hint :)
Yes, it is important to identify bias - but this applies to all of us, not just PZ. Every single one of us is biased. It is a common enemy.

Serious discussion should start by recognizing that each side has biases. Participants should recognize that it is much easier to spot the effects of bias in someone else than it is to spot it in oneself. Identifying bias should be part of a productive discussion, not a discussion ender. And remember, being biased does not mean the person is wrong - at the end of the day you still have to do the work and assess the actual arguments that are being made. One can be emotionally charged and be absolutely correct, or calm and serene and dead-wrong! :)

But you are right that people should recognize that PZ is biased and therefore should not just accept what he says without question. But again, that goes for us all!
 
#11
I wrote this at the weekend in response to a different thread, but my internet connection dropped half way so it didn't post. P Z Myers may want to debate NDEs, but only with people who can be browbeaten into backing down.
Sorry, I said I had respect for him (Massimo), but I did not mean in this debate -- I meant that, as materialists go, I do have some respect for him. He has pushed back on the more extreme skeptics in the past. But in this particular debate, no way. He was terrible.
My issue with people like Massimo is they realise at some level they need to address the objectivity of the scientific process, and develop a conciliatory language with research outside the mainstream. But having framed the debate as a quest among equals, they adopt a hierarchical approach to facts and abandon the very objectivity they claim to valorise. Personally I prefer the approach of Richard Dawkins who cuts straight to the chase and calls philosophy an unnecessary distraction, and works on the assumption that only some facts are actually "facts", and only hard science is real science. Soft materialism has become popular, but it's simply politically correct hard materialism, and just as uncompromising.
 
#12
I dont know Myers, but people who state things like that cant be taken seriously. Hes free to think whatever he wants about this site, but stating it is something else entirely. But i get it, hes a cocky one whos trying to be aggressive for some odd reason.
Your response shows exactly why people like PZ (and they are on all sides) should rethink their approach - if their goal is to change minds. People like him often see their approach as "tough talk" and "telling it like it is". They claim to value substantive discussion but by making disparaging, insulting comments about the other side all they do is exacerbate bias and detract from substantive discussion. Making comments like that reinforces one's own us vs. them mentality. While not fallaciously personal, the comments still are personal and one should not be surprised when they get taken personally. It serves to increase the emotional charge in the recipient, and invites like response. It serves to close the minds of both parties, and drastically reduces the chance that productive discussion will follow.

Not to mention the fact that it causes harm to all parties. People like this tell themselves things like "ha! take that!" and may even smile and feel pleased with themselves - but my guess is it also tightens the person's chest, and makes them feel angrier. Along with the hurt feelings on the other side all you have is completely unnecessary pain. Maybe not a lot of it for any single incidence but given how common this type of thing is it really adds up. Even if there are times where the results are positive, my guess is that it is a large net loss for all.
 
#14
I can understand wanting to be an atheist but I could never for the life of me understand why someone would emotionally want materialism to be true . It better gleams mind that someone would dogmatically want there to be nothing after this life
There is definitely something appealing that all your suffering and problems in life will be eradicated within a few short decades. There is always a silver lining on any side of the coin.
 
#17
What is the silver lining to blinking away into nothingness ? I can't for the life of me figure that one out
For the activist materialist atheist, the silver lining is that you never have to experience being wrong while religion, and all those "stupid" people you've been trying to ridicule all your life, are right.

This is the main reason it is pointless to have a debate with PZ Meyers. There are no circumstances, including his own death and experience of the afterlife, that will make him believe there is an afterlife. He has a PhD and many people won't be able or willing to decide for themselves who won the debate. After the debate, no matter how badly you know he lost, he will proclaim victory and you will have to explain to everyone why he really did lose. You have accomplished nothing. You are still at square one.
 
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#18
why couldn't you learn from your mistakes in the next life and as far as hell , I'm an inclusivist who believes most won't be going there .
Just because you learned from your mistakes doesn't mean you can cope with having committed them in the first place.

Your opinion of hell is counter to the opinion of hell many have been sold over the millennia, and which much of atheism is a reaction to. That terrifying bible thumping evangelizing about all sinners boiling in excrement for eternity.
 
#19
L



Correct and I readily admit my bias but I'm also willing to hear the other side out as long as they present a cogent argument for why they logically believe what they believe . To just dismiss nde research as loony is it a reasonable assertion , even though the field is reasonably new protein cold have improved within the short time its being studied.
No, I don't think it is reasonable to dismiss the research as looney. I don't think the research should be dismissed. That said, as I'm writing in a post I'm working on for another thread, I think there have been claims made that aren't quite justified by the research - on both sides for that matter.

I don't think it does anyone any favours to push the findings beyond what is supported, but I'll have more to say on that in the other thread.

I can understand wanting to be an atheist but I could never for the life of me understand why someone would emotionally want materialism to be true . It better gleams mind that someone would dogmatically want there to be nothing after this life
While I'm sure there are some people who became atheist because they wanted it to be so I don't think its that way for many. For myself for example I became an atheist because I just stopped believing the stories I was being told (this was when I was 11 or 12 or so, it wasn't an all that intellectual exercise). In terms of preferences one can come up with a list of pros and cons for pretty well any metaphysical view (personally, I would fear they eternal consciousness would lead inevitably to madness, but that's probably for another discussion!)

,But the emotional charge comes not just from wanting the particular result but comes from bias in favour of ones current views. Again, this applies across the board.

we need to stop thinking of bias as a moral failure. One who accuses another of bias without acknowledging one's own bias is a hypocrite.
 
#20
For one you don't have to live with your mistakes forever, and there is no punishment like Hell.
Are you saying that you believe there is punishment? I don't.

My take on the afterlife, from various sources, is that there is no punishment, no judgement, no hell (other than the hell we might create for ourselves from our own beliefs). Mistakes are part of the process - the evolutionary process. So we make mistakes in one life and we get to experience the ramifications of our actions and learn how to do things differently.

As I said, that's just my take. But it seems to me that fundamentalists of both the religious and atheist persuasions fear the same things and deal with those fears in different, but equally dogmatic, ways.
 
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