What divides Christians and non-believers|290|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    maybe it's a matter of semantics. I mean, how do you explain that you accept the deep truth and universality of Jesus' wisdom and the reality of Christ consciousness, but you don't believe in the Bible or most of the historical accounts of Jesus' life.
     
  2. Alex

    Alex New

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    I think the last segment on the Jesus passage in Josephus is pretty important... there are actually many "Christian scholars" who aren't willing to go there... amazing given how obvious it is.
     
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  3. Reece

    Reece Member

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    While I agree with Alex concerning NDEs not be understandable using science or logic, I also agree with you that they're culturally influenced.

    Check out Carol Zaleski's book Otherworld Journeys. She looks at medieval NDEs. They look different than modern day NDEs. This doesn't change the profundity of them for me, of course, but it does change the way I think about them.

    http://www.amazon.com/Otherworld-Journeys-Accounts-Near-Death-Experience/dp/0195056655
     
  4. Alex

    Alex New

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    interesting. and the cross-cultural thing is important. this guy has studied it as much as anyone: http://www.skeptiko.com/265-dr-gregory-shushan-cross-cultural-comparison-near-death-experiences/

    I just we have to be very careful in drawing too many conclusions from this data (as Shushan is). The most important take-away is that NDEs exist across cultures in a way that adds paradigm-busting reality of the phenomena.
     
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  5. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I'll check it out. And I agree about the take-away.
     
  6. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I'd love to hear an interview with Carol Zaleski, btw . . .
     
  7. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Yes, that is exactly my point. They all interpreted the experience differently.
    To access the raw data of the experience we have to strip away the personal interpretations. That is the ground floor methodology of how we do all science.
    I disagree with the pessimistic belief that NDE experience is inaccessible to scientific human knowing. To me that belief is as irrational and obstructive as the reductive materialist belief that denies the reality of the experience.

    Nothing we experience is beyond the scope of scientific human knowing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  8. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Thanks for that link Alex
    I will have a listen and let you know what I think
    David
     
  9. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    Isn't it possible that some things are irrational and therefore outside the scope of scientific exploration? Why should everything follow logic?
     
  10. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    That example is here (see example #2): http://www.near-death.com/experiences/group.html
     
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  11. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Logic is not science
    Science is about reaching objective understanding of what actually is the case
    Logic is just part of the epistemological tool kit used by the scientific method


    Behind the multitudes of irrational primitive beliefs held by humans about the natural world and the stars and the universe etc.
    there was always the objective facts of what is actually the case
    But humanity did not begin to be able to access that understanding until the scientific method was developed
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
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  12. The data from NDEs are extremely varied and complex. There are similarities and differences between cultures and both similarities and differences tell us something about the phenomena. The cultural differences argue against physiological explanations, the similarities argue against the influence of expectations. Simple generalizations like "people see what they expect to see" just don't hold up. A Jew may see Jesus, a Muslim may see Buddha, children who have no expectations and atheists and people who attempt suicide who expect nothing still have the same type of NDEs.

    From the same post:

    People don't always see what they expect to see.

    http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research22.html

    Dr. PMH Atwater, researched the identity of the initial greeters met in near-death states. She discovered that religious figures usually conform to the predominant religion the experiencer was exposed to, but not always. Jesus has appeared in near-death scenarios of Jewish people, for instance; a Muslim man once told her he was met by Buddha. (P.M.H. Atwater)
    http://pmhatwater.blogspot.com/2007/09/are-there-ndes-in-which-buddhist.html

    Q & A with PMH Atwater
    ...
    Refer to "Beyond the Light" and the case of Jeanie Dicus. She was a Jew yet she was visited by Jesus. This so surprised her and confounded her that she promptly challenged Jesus, and continued to do so throughout her entire near-death episode, saying: "I don't believe in you. Why are you here?" Of note, atheists report the same type of visitations as do religious folk. In other words, you don't have to believe in anything to be surprised at what you find when you die or nearly die.
    NDEs cannot be explained by religious or cultural expectations:
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/07/materialist-explanations-of-ndes-fail.html#nde_explain_religion

    Religious Expectations:
    Hogan
    The phenomenon is not a result of some religious expectations. If it were fulfilling the experiencer's expectations of what dying is like, we would expect that only people who believed in and expected a near-death experience would have one, not suicides who anticipate annihilation, fundamentalists who expect only to see God, or agnostics and atheists who would not believe in an NDE phenomenon at all. In fact, that is not the case. Carol Zaleski wrote in her book, Otherworld Journeys, describing NDEs, "Suicide victims seeking annihilation, fundamentalists who expect to see God on the operating table, atheists, agnostics and carpe diem advocates find equal representation in the ranks of the near-death experiencers."214


    Long
    A really interesting part of the study that I did was looking at children age 5 and under. In fact, their average age was 3-1/2 years old. These are children so young that to them, death is an abstraction. They don’t understand it. They can't conceptualize it. They’ve almost never heard about near-death experiences; have no preconceived notions about that. They certainly have far less cultural influence, both in terms of religion or anything else that could even potentially modify the near-death experience at that tender young age.

    And yet looking at these same 33 elements of near-death experience that I did in other parts of this study, I found absolutely no statistical difference in their percentage of occurrence in very young children as compared to older children and adults. So no question about that.

    That almost single-handedly shoots down the skeptical argument that near-death experiences are due to pre-existing beliefs or cultural influences. We’re not seeing a shred of evidence that corroborates that at all. In fact, that finding is actually corroborated with another major scholarly researcher who actually reviewed over 30 years of near-death experience research and came up with the same conclusion.

    Cultural Expectations:
    Hogan
    Margot Grey's study of NDEs in England215; Paola Giovetti's study in Italy216; Dorothy Counts' study in Melanesia217; Satwant Pasricha and Ian Stevenson's study in India218. More studies are coming out from different countries on a regular basis, and historical examples show that the experience has been remarkably consistent over time (see Plato's example of Er's NDE in The Republic).219
    Tymn: "Hogan cites research demonstrating that different cultures have produced remarkably similar findings, thus showing that they're not dependent on expectations in any culture."
    .​



    Cultural differences rule out physiological explanations:

    Here is the case where different people shared an NDE but had different interpretations. But how could a physiological explanation cause people to have a shared experience - to know what the others were experiencing?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  13. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    David, you seem a rather certain in your statements. You speak of "irrational primitive beliefs" as if all irrational beliefs are primitive and all primitive beliefs are irrational. "Irrational" isn't an absolute term--varying, as it does, according to what is currently accepted as "knowledge"--and nor is science.

    To demonstrate the relativity of rationality and science, it was at one time deemed irrational/unscientific to think of continental drift or quasi-crystals. Now, they're accepted phenomena and deemed both rational and scientific. It's conceivable that in the not too distant future, the same might be said of what we currently think of as spiritual phenomena.

    Science as we currently understand it is still quite young, and, contrary to what you seem to be saying, not entirely rational. It's as much subject to fashionable ideas as anything else; some ideas are in, and some are out regardless of their intrinsic merit. In time, things once thought irrational become widely accepted, and things thought scientific/rational become rejected.

    In: Black holes, multiple universes, dark matter and energy, anthropogenic climate change, the HIV cause of AIDS, Darwinian evolution, linkage of brain with mind...

    Out: the Electric universe, cold fusion, water memory, Intelligent Design, psychic phenomena...

    Hang about for a few decades: then check what is currently in that becomes out, and what is currently out that becomes in. You say that logic is not science, meaning--I think--that it isn't the whole of science, merely one of its methodological tools. Which is true, but that doesn't mean to say that everything that exists can be explained logically, which as often as not relates to current theory rather than any absolute notion of logic. I mean, what is logical about gravity? Why should a massive body possess gravity, and what the hell is gravity, any way? We know something of what it does, but what actually is it? The same with electromagnetic radiation and a pile of other stuff.

    Science is, as much as anything, a story about what we're pleased to think of as reality. It's a story that changes over time, and in that respect bears quite a lot of similarity to the different interpretations placed on phenomena such as NDEs by its experiencers. Viewed in that light, one begins to get an inkling if how insecure is our notion of reality, science, rationality, and even logic. Hell, in a couple of centuries, we may have moved on from "science" to some other way of investigating the universe and all be laughing our socks off at the current dark age.

    Stay loose, man. Be ever open to the possibility of fundamental change in the way we view the universe.
     
  14. The scientific method does not guarantee truth. Most published research findings are false. And people had been determining truth for thousands of years before the scientific revolution. How could primitive people survive in the wilderness, the jungle, the desert, the arctic if they didn't have true knowledge needed to survive? How could prescientific people cross the globe in sailing ships, work metal, tan leather, grow crops and livestock, build pyramids, set broken bones, perform surgery? How could the Romans build aqueducts or the dome of the Pantheon?

    The scientific method does not guarantee truth:

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...erlife.html#articles_by_subject_bogus_science
    People have been determining truth for thousands of years before the scientific revolution:


    the worst jobs in history:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMEVXuN8adw&list=PL63D956BC489378A5
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    great post. thx. love the Jeff Long quote.
     
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  17. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    If a phenomenon is not rational or logical, then it is not repeatable and testable, so as far as science is concerned, it doesn't exist. Isn't it possible there is an aspect of the universe that is fundamentally irrational? If so, the only way to know anything about it would be through direct experience.

    I'm not saying NDEs are entirely irrational and illogical. I think aspects of NDEs do follow patterns and can therefore be explored scientifically. But I don't think NDEs are entirely rational logical phenomena, so to a certain extent, aspects of the NDE will always be untouchable to science.
     
  18. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Yes I am very sure about what I am saying. And, with respect, truly, I can tell from your reply, that you do not understand what I am saying.
    I am not going to go through it all, because it really doesn’t matter.
    I am quite sure that in future time many things which seem mysterious or irrational to us today, will be understood.
    I am quite sure that NDEs can be, and I hope will be, part of that knowledge, and with it the scientific knowledge that human beings are not robots.
    Of course we will never reach total knowledge, so there will never be a lack of the mysterious and the irrational. So don’t worry about that.
     
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  19. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I think you're on the proponent side, so am not taking issue with you about that. But I suspect you are using "understanding" and "scientific knowledge" more or less interchangeably. However, are the two the same thing? I also suspect you think that using current science methodologies, eventually we'll be able to understand everything--including NDEs, for example.

    What I'm trying to say is that science is as much as anything a method of constructing an acceptable narrative about reality. People think they know what gravity and electromagnetism are. They think they know what logic and mathematics are. They think they know these things because, based on the narrative, we can engineer highly useful artefacts like computers, aeroplanes and satnavs. But that doesn't make the narrative true: it just makes it in part useful, at least for a time. In certain areas (cosmology etc.), the narrative is little more than speculation, and just because the other areas are useful, doesn't make them any the more true either.

    Our ideas about NDEs are speculative too: we accept their reality in the sense that we accept that people experience them. However, as Moody points out in the video Alex posted, they talk about a realm of time- and place- lessness from here, where time and space are deemed to apply, which is literally nonsense: how can anyone speak of such things using human language, suited only to apparent reality? There'll always be a discontinuity between our narrative explaining reality (what we call science) and reality as it may be experienced--which, by the way, isn't necessarily the truth either.

    Fact is, the more one thinks about it, the more one marvels that the narratives possess any usefulness at all. Our entire world view is based not on truth, but on metaphors or models that in some inexplicable way happen to be useful or to be found satisfactory explanatory narratives. We don't actually know anything at all, including the idea that science as currently understood is the be-all and end-all.
     
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  20. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    When I refer to ‘science’ I am referring to what is called the scientific method; which is an epistemological methodology and discipline for getting beyond cultural and personal narratives and interpretations etc to the factuality of what is the case.

    I am not referring to any particular technological form or technical means that science may take or use at any period in its development. Science, as I mean it, is a way of knowing; an epistemological methodology and discipline. The scientific method yields factual data from experience, with which we can develop and test theory and generate real knowledge and technologies.

    Science is more than a narrative; reflect on that next time you are on an aircraft. The aircraft is not staying aloft because of a narrative or because of beliefs. The aircraft is possible because human science, or human knowing and understanding, has understood something real about the factual nature of this world – what we call physics; and that understanding has been used to create a reliable technology of civil aviation.

    Of course there are cultural narratives about science that arise; but cultural narratives about science are not science. By science I mean the methodology that produces factual data and reliable knowledge and stuff that works; not the stories people might tell themselves about whatever they imagine science is or isn’t.

    So for me science is a special way of dealing with experience that yields factual data….not personal narratives. The scientist endeavours to systematically exclude personal narratives and discipline their knowing and understanding to access facts. Obviously scientists do this imperfectly. Pure science is difficult to do because of our propensity for creating narratives and interpretations and beliefs.

    My point all along has been to differentiate between the personal narratives aspects of NDEs and the raw data content of NDEs. I do not mean to belittle the personal narrative aspect of the NDE; not at all; I mean only to point out the scientific possibility of accessing the raw data; and the knowledge and understanding of human consciousness and the afterlife it could yield.

    There is no reason why the data of paranormal experiences such as NDEs cannot yield to the scientific method of knowing; to the discipline of excluding personal narrative to access raw data. That data can give us valuable insight into the nature of human mind, and the nature of the other realms.

    The main obstacles to a proper scientific study of NDEs come from deniers of NDEs, such as scientific materialists (which is a narrative, not science), and also from believers in NDEs, who insist they are beyond explanation and actually don’t want them investigated scientifically. There are many who will resist scientific investigation of NDEs and consciousness and spirituality etc. because they want to hold onto personal narratives and beliefs about these things.
     
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