What would Oliver Sacks say about the afterlife now? |291|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,615
    What would Oliver Sacks say about the afterlife now? |291|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Oct 19 | Consciousness Science, Near-Death Experience

    Near-Death Experience Research, Dr. Jan Holden and her colleagues reveal their latest findings.
    [​IMG]
    photo by: Steve Jurvetson

    The question might sound crass, but then again, why should it? Dr. Oliver Sacks was one of the world’s best known and beloved neuroscientists, but at the time of his passing he was also an outspoken opponent of scientific findings suggestive of an afterlife. So, should a question contemplating a reality he was never willing to consider offend? Our cultural reflex to respect the dead may be trying to tell us something about underlying scientific question — what happens after we die?
     
    tim, Ian Gordon, Boo boo and 4 others like this.
  2. I agree it is pathetic it is also harmful. They can call themselves scientists because that is what scientists do. Most published research findings are false. There have been many important scientific discoveries that were initially ridiculed. Your consternation is caused by a false expectation that scientists are objective truth seekers. They are not. In The Conscious Universe Dean Radin discusses perceptual bias - how scientists have too much self-interest in the materialistic world view to be able to see psi. Even some parapsychologists are para-pseudo-skeptics who believe in super-psi because they suffer from perceptual bias caused by studying ESP and cannot see the evidence for the afterlife. I also think scientists are affected by neuroplasticity when after a life time of education and career, their brain becomes so accustomed to reductionist thinking that they cannot conceive that something might not be explainable in terms of simple particles and forces. But the problem of cognitive bias is not restricted to scientists. We all suffer from it to some extent when we are wrong about strongly held beliefs.

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...erlife.html#articles_by_subject_bogus_science
    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/suppressed_parapsychology
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/perceptual-bias-in-parapsychology.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
    Ian Gordon, tim, Boo boo and 2 others like this.
  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,132
    Buggered if I know either. It's like their curiosity and open-mindedness faculties have been amputated or something.

    I greatly enjoyed this podcast--particularly Jan Holden's contribution, which was super-articulate. I've tracked down some videos of hers which I'll presently watch--they're here:









    I may also re-listen to Alex's interview with her in Skeptiko #164, which I've forgotten.
     
    Ian Gordon, Judith, Johnny and 2 others like this.
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,132
    Thinking about it, my metaphor of amputation is a rather a good one. We're speaking of narratives on another thread, and their narratives about the way things are do effectively excise their critical thinking ability: make them select only the evidence that fits in with their conditioning. It's exactly the same thing with religious fundamentalists: you simply can't have a reasoned discussion with them because of their feeling of certainty about, and devotion to, a scriptural narrative. They can't, literally can't, see the point in wasting their time checking out contradictory literature, and that's maddening, but there you go.

    Every now and then, you'll come across someone who despite it all, manages to see things from a different perspective. I'll transpose it to the religious framework to make it plain--see this:



    Now re-imagine the sheikh--who is part of the Saudi establishment, believe it or not--as someone like Rupert Sheldrake or Jan Holden; they reject the materialistic narrative, and to Alex, me, and doubtless a lot of others here, what they say seems blindingly obvious.

    We're completely nonplussed, simply can't wrap our heads around, why all scientists aren't the counterpart of this sheikh. This kind of thing is allowed in Saudi Arabia, because Islam itself isn't being criticised, rather just Arabs. Notice that the sheikh doesn't wear the usual Saudi headband: this is a sign that he's a particularly devout Muslim, and that's one means of getting away with speaking truth to power.

    I can't help remarking that some scientists who manage to evade the ire of the thought police do so through subtly paying homage to the status quo. You can't openly criticise neo-Darwinism, but you're okay if you publish evidence contradicting it as long as you don't explicitly say it's total bollocks: in fact pay a little lip-service to it. In the end, this may be the most effective--perhaps only--way of bringing about change.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
    Alex likes this.
  5. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    327
    Home Page:
    My feeling about your question is that even if Sachs is wrong on this point (and he is), he may continue to believe there is no afterlife even after he has entered it. There is quite a lot of precedent for this, and no infallible explanation for why some people continue to disbelieve after death and others immediately understand their error.
     
    Dmitch, Ian Gordon, K9! and 2 others like this.
  6. malf

    malf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    4,048
    Interesting. What references do you have that represent "precedent"?
     
  7. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    There is quite a bit from the OBE writers. Take it for what you will.
     
    malf likes this.
  8. Andrew Paquette

    Andrew Paquette Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    327
    Home Page:
    Reports from mediums and clairvoyants who have a good track record of producing veridical data.

    AP
     
    malf likes this.
  9. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,052
    @Alex or any of the sysops, I posted a thread about this in the "Other stuff" section, but for some reason the post/like requirement to post links in the forums appears to have been disabled. The result, as can be seen from the post above (assuming that it has not been deleted by the time this is read), is that accounts with no posts have been spamming the hell out of all the forums. Is there are reason why this was disabled or is it just a hiccup in the platform?
     
  10. tradingdavid

    tradingdavid New

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Messages:
    11
    The guests were interesting, but I don't know if the question adds anything.

    After having listened to a number of podcasts I feel it's fairly circular at this point. Alex insists that there's no good explanation other then some sort of afterlife thesis and skeptics point out that something else could be going on.

    I really think Alex is getting sucked into the materialist mindset of demanding zero error no creativity logic in this.

    The thing is it's really correct to say NDE's don't prove an afterlife and something else could be going on that's just unknown or not understood.

    What's incorrect is to take from that that NDE evidence isn't evidence for afterlife.

    The conservative approach (and I think correct approach) is to look for similar phenomenon where it appears to imply the same thing but there's some sort of risk of unlikely error or way of thinking that we're missing.

    If two pieces of evidence exist then they each strengthen each other since the probability of some sort of unlikely analytical hole goes down. (psi, NDE, reincarnation, etc)

    However, skeptics materialist argue in a way that by engaging with them we accept implicit assumption in their arguments.

    For example

    Null hypothesis - Skeptics argue that there should be some sort of binary choice between reality A and reality B with the most likely being the null hypothesis. Shouldn't in a quest for knowledge the real goal be a probabilistic understanding of likelihood.

    Burden of Proof - Skeptics keep using the term burden of proof, but it's really a term for a trial or debate. Scientific theories are all the time advanced because they are elegant explanations.



    I don't know sometimes I get frustrated and start doubting myself. It's the exact same kind of passing doubt I get with local religious fundamentalists. They are so sure of themselves. But I can consciously identify the errors in their logic and reasoning.

    It's like those bumper stickers with some profound slogan like "I'm a conservative because everyone can't be on welfare" and your like everyone knows that it it's just way more complicated

    I know this gets into philosophy I guess, but to be honest I've always found philosophy to be an intellectual bagatelle in most cases.

    Does anyone know of an author who really breaks down the skeptical mindframe and where they are vearing off course?
     
  11. Doug

    Doug New

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    I very much enjoyed this episode, especially having a contribution from a researcher from New Zealand close to where I am in Australia. I think the reason neuroscientists are so reluctant to even look at the evidence fron NDE's is because they cannot postulate a mechanism or process within the known laws whereby an afterlife could exist. I get stuck on this too. I find the NDE and other evidence very compelling and I truly want to believe (because I lost my wife from cancer and I want to think I could meet her again) but then I find it difficult to imagine how an afterlife fits into the cosmos as we know it. Who sets the laws for an afterlife?, how does it work?, does it imply there is a God and if so why is there so much evil on the planet?, do we retain our individuality or morph into a common consciousness? what will we be doing and for how long and what is our purpose in an afterlife and then what happens? I can't get my head around those issues but I fully accept it may be we are not meant to understand it or are even capable of understanding it. I think no matter how much evidence we find, it will remain a mystery at least from our perspective as human intellects here on earth. While the idea of living a meaningless life as a 'biological robot' until I die and then absolute oblivion is not attractive to me, the thought of an eternity of existence in another plane or endless cycles of more or less pleasant existences here on Earth does not really appeal either and ultimately also seem meaningless. But these issues have to be faced if mind does not equal brain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
    malf likes this.
  12. K9!

    K9! New

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,596
    The podcast mentioned in the question period after Jan Holden\s talk can be found here:

    http://inceptionradionetwork.com/ep...iences-to-dr-jan-holdens-valuable-research-2/
     
    tim likes this.
  13. Steve

    Steve Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,490
    Hi Doug. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's passing. I find it hard to understand why neuroscientists and others can't just accept the evidence without postulating a mechanism or process within the known laws. If a member of a primitive tribe saw an aircraft taking off for the first time, he would just have to accept that they exist and really fly without having any knowledge of the science behind it. I think we should show some humility and accept that there is tons that we don't really know.

    I think I can provide some sort of answers to some of the questions that you ask, but I am quite content with not knowing others. I find it very interesting how different we are, but at the same time, how alike. Coming to terms with what is unknown might be a kind of key to unlocking some answers.
     
    Ian Gordon, tim and Doug like this.
  14. Doug

    Doug New

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    Thanks Steve, I do accept that perhaps we have to just sit with the mystery of what might happen when we die but I do think it is valid to ask questions. The ancient tribe seeing an aircraft taking off for the first time would contain some members who would look past the wonder of something so incredible and ask how does this happen? I do think that materialist scientists struggle with that. If we do accept the evidence then naturally the next step is to hypothesise a mechanisn and that becomes speculation for any of us.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,490
    Certainly I would encourage asking questions, of course there would be those in the tribe that are driven more than others to find out 'how it works'. But while they do that the fact remains that aircraft are part of their reality, best to use them to their advantage in the meantime. This is quite a useful metaphor for the situation we find ourselves in I think. :)
     
    Doug likes this.
  16. Doug

    Doug New

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    It is a good metaphor because whilst those in the tribe who actually saw the aircraft with their own eyes would not doubt its existence, those who did not might question whether it was just their imagination or hallucinations. Thus the issue with NDE's and other manifestations of extended consciousness is for those who have not experienced it first hand it can be easier to doubt the validity than accept something that does not fit with a worldview they have. I'd be interested in understanding what postulated ways we could exist after bodily death. It must imply there is a God or creative intelligence I think.
     
  17. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,052
    IMO, the problem of evil is only a problem is you are trying to believe in an anthropomorphic/personal God.
     
  18. Doug

    Doug New

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    But doesn't the common theme of nde experiencers of universal love imply a loving intelligence behind it all?
     
  19. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,052
    Yes, but that was not my point. I have my fair share of experience with synchronicity and know that some paranormal experiences are of very personal nature, but I don't expect a fatherly intervention every time that trouble brews.

    There is little difference between constant deus ex machina and determinism. If the idea of life is to learn, constant hand holding is a hindrance. Pain and suffering are required for collective growth, even if it doesn't seem fair.
     
    Ian Gordon and tim like this.
  20. Doug

    Doug New

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    No it doesn't seem fair and personally I think evil and suffering are the most powerful arguments for a materialistic /atheistist worldview. If suffering is part of 'collective growth' then each individual life is meaningless and Alex goes on repeatedly that he does not belive we are biological robots living a meaningless life in a meaningless universe but if an individual life of suffering only has meaning as a part of collective growth then I don’t think that is real meaning.
     

Share This Page