What Studies for Skeptiko Guests?

#1
When Alex interviews "skeptics" there is always a similar refrain from proponents about the interviewee's lack of knowledge of the NDE research papers.

It is certainly frustrating. Why doesn't Alex supply the guest with 4 or 5 papers before the interview so that they can at least get idea from where, and how, Alex is informing his argument?

I have a suspicion that while there are some studies out there, they do not strongly endorse the interviewer's position (as vague as that is). Even on this forum, the proponent's strongest arguments appear to be in youtube form.

With that in mind, I wondered if forum members could suggest maybe 4 or 5 journal papers that Alex could supply to skeptics before recording of the show, to make for less painful listening :)

Links to the studies would be great so that we can examine how they could inform the discussion.
 
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#5
Excellent question, Malf.

I've thought about this a bit. I would suggest these two papers as starters:

http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_3_cook.pdf

The Pim van Lommel et. al paper because it is an example of a good quality prospective study, published in a mainstream journal. The Cook et. al. paper because it gives a decent overview of the kinds of information sought, and doesn't overstate the case too badly. I would avoid any of the collections of stories documented long after there had been feedback and information transfer. A scientist will be put off by the request to look at poor quality information (and it won't reflect well on Alex if he tries to claim it is good quality).

I'm not sure what else to suggest, as the few other good quality studies are repetitions of the information in the Pim van Lommel study. The most enlightening study to read is Penny Sartori's, but it's not easily accessible and too long.

Linda
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#7
I'd recommend the chapter on NDEs in Irreducible Mind, which is also included in the Handbook of NDEs.
The philosophical arguments in the front end, as well the discussion of information and representation in Chapter 4: Memory, are also very interesting. Because he's an avowed materialist I think Lycan's Giving Dualism Its Due might be useful to present to a materialist, though I also think you'd have to read Feser's refutation of Churchland to get a more accurate picture of the philosophical case immaterialists are making.

That said - I'd actually not advise guests be given reading material before hand, though as has been previously suggested the site should have a place for the most compelling cases, support for the importance/primacy of consciousness outside of parapsychology, and an overview of philosophical arguments (I'd recommend Clifton's Empirical Case Against Materialism. It's long but it does pack a good overview of the landscape in its 30 or so pages.)

People unfamiliar with this material could be asked to peruse and follow up if they chose.

The reason I don't think it's a good idea to front load the interview with the material is it makes the discussion center around those particular cases. This is not only likely to result in fewer interviews being conducted but it also makes it seem as if the decision to doubt materialism is based on what would have to be a very tiny body of work. To use Irreducible Mind as an example the book's case rests on a variety of philosophical arguments and a variety of empirical evidence - far too much to be included in a pre-interview packet.
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#8
The reason I don't think it's a good idea to front load the interview with the material is it makes the discussion center around those particular cases. This is not only likely to result in fewer interviews being conducted but it also makes it seem as if the decision to doubt materialism is based on what would have to be a very tiny body of work. To use Irreducible Mind as an example the book's case rests on a variety of philosophical arguments and a variety of empirical evidence - far too much to be included in a pre-interview packet.
I wouldn't broaden the subject to "doubting materialism." If Alex wants to talk about NDEs, then some papers on NDEs are useful as a common ground. If Alex is then going to start beating up on materialism, he has changed the subject.

The problem now is that Alex seems to assume that the people he interviews has the same interests as he does.

~~ Paul
 
#9
I do think the show has rather drifted from its original intentions. Dialogue between skeptics and proponents. It now seems to be squarely centred on shitting on materialism for an hour every 2 weeks.
 
#10
I would add these 2 papers to Linda's...

1) Borjigin "Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain"
http://www.znanost.org/~kovacic/portal/PNAS-2013-Borjigin-1308285110.pdf

2) Ring "Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind: A Study of Apparent Eyeless Vision"
http://kernz.org/nd/nde-papers/Ring/Ring-Journal of Near-Death Studies_1997-16-101-147-1.pdf

and also these papers associated with the OBE/NDE...

Albrecht-Buehler "Rudimentary form of cellular 'vision'"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC49903/pdf/pnas01091-0448.pdf

Tero "Amoebae Anticipate Periodic Events"
http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/33004/1/PhysRevLett_100_018101.pdf

Tsai "Recovery of learning and memory is associated with chromatin remodelling"
http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature05772

Chaban "Physically disconnected non-diffusible cell-to-cell communication between neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y and DRG primary sensory neurons"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560476/pdf/ajtr0005-0069.pdf

Marino "Effect of low-frequency magnetic fields on brain electrical activity in human subjects"
http://www.medcom.lsuhscshreveport.edu/drmarino/cms_v1/useruploads/pdf/137-clinneurophys2004.pdf

Frohlich & McCormick "Endogenous Electric Fields May Guide Neocortical Network Activity"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3139922/pdf/nihms213287.pdf
 
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Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#11
This one seems interesting too:
Characteristics of Near-Death Experiences Memories as Compared to Real and Imagined Events Memories

or this one
Near-death experiences in non-life-threatening events and coma of different etiologies.

One of the authors, on both of these, is Steven laureys. He would make an excellent guest for Alex to have on his show, his expertise is in the field of minimum states of consciousness.

BTW, is there still some thread active where we can make suggestions for guests to the show?
 
#12
When Alex interviews "skeptics" there is always a similar refrain from proponents about the interviewee's lack of knowledge of the NDE research papers.

It is certainly frustrating. Why doesn't Alex supply the guest with 4 or 5 papers before the interview so that they can at least get idea from where, and how, Alex is informing his argument?

I have a suspicion that while there are some studies out there, they do not strongly endorse the interviewer's position (as vague as that is). Even on this forum, the proponent's strongest arguments appear to be in youtube form.

With that in mind, I wondered if forum members could suggest maybe 4 or 5 journal papers that Alex could supply to skeptics before recording of the show, to make for less painful listening :)

Links to the studies would be great so that we can examine how they could inform the discussion.
Doesn't he do this already?
 
#14
When Alex interviews "skeptics" there is always a similar refrain from proponents about the interviewee's lack of knowledge of the NDE research papers.

It is certainly frustrating. Why doesn't Alex supply the guest with 4 or 5 papers before the interview so that they can at least get idea from where, and how, Alex is informing his argument?
I'm surprised you even expect him to be responsible for supplying them with anything. If someone claims to be an neuroscience expert and authority on how brains function, then I certainly don't expect them to be familiar with the topics discussed on this site. However, if they claim to be an authority on consciousness and expect us to seriously consider their explanation of how brains produce consciousness (or the illusion of it, as Graziano says), then I certainly expect them to have investigated the literature, studies, research and evidence on things that pose a problem for that position (psychic phenomena, reincarnation, NDEs, apparitions, etc.). Kind of like what David Bailey is saying here:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...esearch-to-astrology-research.924/#post-23397

I just don't get it.

Cheers,
Bill
 
#15
I'm surprised you even expect him to be responsible for supplying them with anything. If someone claims to be an neuroscience expert and authority on how brains function, then I certainly don't expect them to be familiar with the topics discussed on this site. However, if they claim to be an authority on consciousness and expect us to seriously consider their explanation of how brains produce consciousness (or the illusion of it, as Graziano says), then I certainly expect them to have investigated the literature, studies, research and evidence on things that pose a problem for that position (psychic phenomena, reincarnation, NDEs, apparitions, etc.). Kind of like what David Bailey is saying here:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...esearch-to-astrology-research.924/#post-23397

I just don't get it.

Cheers,
Bill
To the underlined.
I can give a real world analogy why this logic does not work.
The lack of deep knowledge of NDE by most neuroscientists it seems is comparable to beauty makeup artists and special effects makeup artists. The former knows of the latter, but generally expresses little to no practical knowledge and interest in the latter. The converse is also true. A further example. A movie set is a microcosm example. There are various experts and all of those experts know there is a director, camera operators, sound, electricians, visual effects artists, the list goes on and on, but they have no interest or knowledge in those other areas even though they are all working on the same thing. There's no reason in the world why an expert whose interest is parochial should be interested in something that appears peripheral and does not explain how the brain produces consciousness. Why would you expect that?
 
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#16
There's no reason in the world why an expert whose interest is parochial should be interested in something that appears peripheral and does not explain how the brain produces consciousness. Why would you expect that?
Seems you read the underlined part of my post, but not the sentence immediately in front of it.

Cheers,
Bill
 
#17
Seems you read the underlined part of my post, but not the sentence immediately in front of it.

Cheers,
Bill
I read it again and I see the two thoughts aren't related (correct?), but why should neuroscientists interested in the science underlying the causes of consciousness be interested in the subjects here?
 
#18
I'm trying to approach this as "what studies would I ask a colleague to read so they won't think my interest in this area is foolish?" I have to admit that I'm having trouble coming up with much for NDE. The good quality studies merely confirm that people have these experiences, but don't exclude the likelihood that they are brain-based responses to insults. And they wouldn't be interested in collections of stories (or "case studies"), nor would I expect them to be (never mind philosophy or anti-materialist rants). I haven't gone through all of Max's suggestions yet (I second the rat study, but I'm afraid that this would only inflame Alex). However, I should point out that they don't seem to be anything Alex would be familiar with, nor do they seem to address Alex's assertions.

We should be able to come up with something useful if we keep trying.

Linda
 
#19
The good quality studies merely confirm that people have these experiences, but don't exclude the likelihood that they are brain-based responses to insults.
How badly do you have to be insulted for the brain to produce an experience? :P

Seriously - I don't have a link on-hand, but a technical paper summarising the work of Ian Stevenson might be useful.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#20
However, if they claim to be an authority on consciousness and expect us to seriously consider their explanation of how brains produce consciousness (or the illusion of it, as Graziano says), then I certainly expect them to have investigated the literature, studies, research and evidence on things that pose a problem for that position (psychic phenomena, reincarnation, NDEs, apparitions, etc.).
Keep in mind the comparisons to astrology are part of a culture of shaming and in group selection. The idea is to justify not dealing with any of this kind of stuff while still asserting a definitive position on the matter. Better to make even the consideration/discussion of this evidence taboo, even while going so far in the other direction that hand puppets become conscious entities is seen as a legitimate direction.

Look at how Nagel was treated for expressing his general doubts about materialism.
 
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