world-views and agendas

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#21
[quote="Kay, post: 6935]Since I don't find the evidence even remotely compelling thus far, my only motive to accept that it's real is my wish that it was true, and on some days, a sort of hope that maybe it is.[/quote]

I find that an amazing statement, you have truly looked at all the evidence but have found nothing even remotely compelling ?

Really ? What then attracts you into staying here, are you trying to convince me and others that there's really nothing to this, I just don't get it ?
 
#22
Of course I realize that there are SOME people on the other side who say that they hope there is no afterlife, free-will or God. But for the big conspiracy thing to work, it needs to be the case that most or all of them hope for this. It also needs to be the case that they want the materialist world-view to be true with the same intensity and passion that believers want to see their loved ones again in the afterlife. I just don't find any of this to be plausible.

Yes, as Thomas Kuhn said, science is conservative and desperately tries to resist paradigm change. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You could argue that it's a good thing that new ideas really have to prove themselves before they get accepted. Conservatism may be even more necessary when it comes to something like the afterlife, which so many people want to be true.

So basically it all comes back to the 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' thing. We could perhaps also say, "Things that seem both extraordinary and too good to be true require really extraordinary evidence." This is the best explanation for why people on the other side don't believe in the afterlife. If you look at a book like 'How to Think about Weird Things' by Theodore Schick, which is pretty much a bible for people in the mainstream skeptic community, you will see the real reasons why skeptics are so skeptical about the afterlife. The theory that the mind goes on after the death of the brain and body doesn't do very well in terms of conservatism, fruitfulness, scope and simplicity, and so skeptics reject it.
I doubt that anyone here has talked about this conspiracy.

Psi and the afterlife are extraordinary only in relation to some worldviews. There is not scientific search extraordinary evidence because "extraordinary" is not a scientific term , but a matter of opinion subject to the dominant paradigm. The scientific is search enough adequate evidence on the issue. And that "something is too good to be true " is even less scientific because something is desirable or not, it has nothing to do with the search for truths.

What is true is that the afterlife proponents have to be careful not to say that there is an afterlife merely because they wish that there is an afterlife , but most of the psychic researchers have come to consider that the likely is that there is an afterlife regardless of their wishes for the impartial examination of the data, I think many on this forum act in a similar way .
 
#23
Most believers think that if there is no afterlife then life is meaningless and we might as well all go and commit suicide. Given that they think this way, all of their work has to be treated with a great deal of suspicion. You can guarantee that, some way or other, they will see evidence of the afterlife. If we had some believers who didn't think that meaning in life required an afterlife, then that would definitely get my attention.

I would love to hear the likes of Sheldrake and Radin say that life is full of meaning and purpose regardless of whether there's an afterlife or whether we have physic powers, but unfortunately they never do. These guys all have an agenda, and strangely enough this agenda is based on a philosophical mistake, as Nagel showed.
Look, you have a caricature of believers. I think that most believers in this forum are not as you think, we do not believe in afterlife because we want that life has meaning and because we believe that if there is not afterlife, life has no meaning, but at least in my case I have examined the empirical evidence, both the neurological and psychic data and I have concluded that the most likely is that exists some sort of personal afterlife. Many psychic researchers in the past started out as skeptics and ended up being believers of an afterlife, by the evidence, not by desires.
 
#24
Look, you have a caricature of believers. I think that most believers in this forum are not as you think, we do not believe in afterlife because we want that life has meaning and because we believe that if there is not afterlife, life has no meaning, but at least in my case I have examined the empirical evidence, both the neurological and psychic data and I have concluded that the most likely is that exists some sort of personal afterlife. Many psychic researchers in the past started out as skeptics and ended up being believers of an afterlife, by the evidence, not by desires.
But is it really a caricature? Are there any believers out there who think it's perfectly possible to live a full and meaningful life even if there's no afterlife, God, libertarian free-will or special psychic powers? If there are, then I'm wrong and I'll shut up.

All the believers I know and read seem to think that 'ultimate meaning/purpose' is impossible unless there's an afterlife. In this, they agree with fundamentalist Christians like William Lane Craig. Unfortunately, though, Nagel showed forty years ago that ultimate meaning is impossible no matter whether there's an afterlife or not. It's an incoherent idea.

Whenever you hear believers saying that on materialism/atheism there's no meaning, freedom or value you know that they're making the mistake Nagel put his finger on all those years ago. They're making exactly the same mistake that fundamentalists always make. They think that on atheism/materialism there's nothing but death, hopelessness and despair. Yet they never give any decent arguments for this.

Generally speaking, believers have such a negative view of atheism/materialism that they will do anything to avoid the conclusion that it's true. This is why I'm extremely suspicious of them.

And note, it doesn't quite work the other way. Yes, some atheists have tried to argue that atheism is preferable to theism. But merely preferring atheism to theism is quite different from the believer's position. Nagel thinks that atheism is a little bit better than theism. He doesn't think that if theism is true then we might as well all go and kill ourselves.

In other words, there are versions of theism that the atheist could live with quite happily, even though they obviously don't think they're true. For the believer, however, there is no version of atheism/materialism that they could accept. There is only death and despair over there.

Alex, for one, is definitely the kind of believer I'm talking about. We can see this by the way he loves to give that Albert Camus quote about atheism and suicide whenever he gets the chance. Fundamentalists like Craig do exactly the same thing. They love to quote Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche and Russell on the meaninglessness of everything on atheism. Yet philosophy moves on! After Nagel, philosophers don't take these arguments seriously any more. Camus was wrong.
 
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#25
But is it really a caricature? Are there any believers out there who think it's perfectly possible to live a full and meaningful life even if there's no afterlife, God, libertarian free-will or special psychic powers? If there are, then I'm wrong and I'll shut up.
Yes, it's a caricature. I myself believe that life can have meaning independently of God, afterlife, free will, etc. I bet that most of the proponents of this forum does not fit into your fundamentalist scheme, because they have come to consider that probably exist psi and afterlife by the empirical evidence, not by desires.
 
#26
But is it really a caricature? Are there any believers out there who think it's perfectly possible to live a full and meaningful life even if there's no afterlife, God, libertarian free-will or special psychic powers? If there are, then I'm wrong and I'll shut up.

All the believers I know and read seem to think that 'ultimate meaning/purpose' is impossible unless there's an afterlife. In this, they agree with fundamentalist Christians like William Lane Craig. Unfortunately, though, Nagel showed forty years ago that ultimate meaning is impossible no matter whether there's an afterlife or not. It's an incoherent idea.

Whenever you hear believers saying that on materialism/atheism there's no meaning, freedom or value you know that they're making the mistake Nagel put his finger on all those years ago. They're making exactly the same mistake that fundamentalists always make. They think that on atheism/materialism there's nothing but death, hopelessness and despair. Yet they never give any decent arguments for this.

Generally speaking, believers have such a negative view of atheism/materialism that they will do anything to avoid the conclusion that it's true. This is why I'm extremely suspicious of them.
Most 'believers' ( as you characterize us ) would probably still find meaning in life even if their wasn't an afterlife.

I feel that you're way off the mark in your analysis, and you've taken the loudest fundamentalists ( like William Lane Craig ) and used their opinions to characterize the rest of our diverse spectrum. I'm not a materialist because I don't feel it's a coherent concept, not because I feel it leads to nihilism. It is possible to have a logical, well founded argument against materialism and still find merits in the concept. You'll find that a number of us, myself included, were staunch atheists/materialists before we decided to do a little homework.
 
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#27
I personally can't find a difference in how I view life ? I can't imagine changing because I suddenly became an atheist.

I happen to believe in God, ( I find a suitable name difficult to find? ), but I don't think that has changed the way I lived my life, or could change it ? I have always believed, but am not religious, it just is for me ?

The evidence ? Science and spirituality are the same thing to me, maybe that is why I enjoy reading about Feynman and Einstein ? They didn't out and out say they believed in God, but they felt the awe in the things they studied - and they somehow knew that it didn't get there by chance.

 
#28
No he wasn't:
“I derive from the absurd three consequences: my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the sheer activity of consciousness, I transform in a rule of life what was an invitation to death—and I refuse suicide.” -- Camus
Your writings expose a naive and privileged, lofty modern and middle-class view of life - a view that only contemplates the metaphysical pain of a boring existence devoid of reason and purpose. But there is real suffering out here - chronic pain, and unspeakable fear. God grant that you remain protected from it, but this real physical suffering communicates a precise and immediate message that real human beings need real and lasting HOPE, in order to keep going on. Camus recognized that the church offered this hope, so he well understood the necessity of belief - though he himself rejected a reliance on ANY hope.
You like science. Science is not (supposed to be) a belief system. It can help you build better bombs and better medicine, but it cannot tell you when to use either of them. Only wisdom can do that. Wisdom borne of the experience of common sense, intuition and history. Evolution is real. And real humans evolved a real need to believe that there is some over-arching cosmic principle that will eventually justify the chaos and madness and pain - and even the boredom - of this real life. We are born with a need to believe - it is literally in our genes. When the self-satisfied atheist exhorts a believer to stop thinking "irrationally", that's the bigoted equivalent of a preacher telling Ellen to "Stop being gay."

Atheism is not a belief system, either. It is a static position in regards to ONE particular question, and beyond that one question it is totally useless. What could be the psychological motivation for even choosing to intentionally label oneself an atheist ? Maybe a desire to be seen and heard?

And then when we finally discover that science itself understands only the tiniest fraction of the universe, and then atheism declares that the vast majority of what it means to be human is just an 'illusion',
but the pain and fear remain just as evident as before -- pursuing alternative solutions and belief systems then seems well warranted, and quite 'rational'. (not that we're asking permission, anyway)
 
#29
Let me just say, Camus, Sartre, Russell and Nietzsche were all brilliant thinkers, and we can all still learn a lot from them. However, on this particular point I think they were wrong. They all seem to think that on Christianity we have ultimate meaning and purpose whereas on atheism we have meaninglessness and despair. In his essay 'The Absurd' Nagel shows that these arguments don't actually work, and that the relationship between God and immortality on the one hand and meaning, freedom, love and value on the other is extremely complicated. He also shows that, no matter what our world view may be, ultimate meaning is not a coherent concept.

People raised in a Christian culture tend to feel intuitively that there is something to the idea that you can only have 'true' meaning and value on theism, but Nagel, and other analytic philosophers like Colin Mcginn, have shown through philosophical analysis that these arguments don't work, and that's why you never hear professional philosophers making such arguments any more. But people like Craig and Alex still keep on making these same old tired arguments against atheism/materialism.
 
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#30
Well. If atheism isn't painful, it's because you're not doing it right.
That's the point Alex was making, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree. Same with all those "brilliant thinkers" you mention. But if you think Nagel is right no matter what, then I can't have much respect for your philosophy. Still, maybe you should take a look at his latest work (Mind and Cosmos) after he's had forty years to think about it :

In the book, Nagel argues that the materialist version of evolutionary biology is unable to account for the existence of mind and consciousness, and is therefore at best incomplete. He writes that mind is a basic aspect of nature, and that any philosophy of nature that cannot account for it is fundamentally misguided.[1] He argues that the standard physico-chemical reductionist account of the emergence of life – that it emerged out of a series of accidents, acted upon by the mechanism of natural selection — flies in the face of common sense.[2]
Nagel's position is that principles of an entirely different kind may account for the emergence of life, and in particular conscious life, and that those principles may be teleological, rather than materialist or mechanistic. He stresses that his argument is not a religious one (he is an atheist), and that it is not based on the theory of intelligent design (ID), though he also writes that ID proponents such as Michael Behe, Stephen C. Meyer, and David Berlinski do not deserve the scorn with which their ideas have been met by the overwhelming majority of the scientific establishment.[3]
Nagel's heretic view - that we cannot reject the obvious teleological evidence that surrounds our common senses, has led to him being burned in effigy by the Moving Naturalism Forward society.
At the end of the day, neither atheism nor theism provides solidly satisfying answers to the meaning of life. Personally, I think it's because we're asking the wrong questions, and we need to explore radically new methodologies.if we want to see any progress. And, like it or not (and I sometimes don't) that is exactly what Skeptiko is doing.
 
#31
You make it sound as though Nagel has changed his mind and now regrets what he wrote all those years ago in the Absurd. In fact, there's no contradiction here. It's perfectly consistent to say that materialism cannot explain consciousness, value, logical and mathematical truth etc, but also at the same time to say that the arguments given by many people about life having no meaning without a God and an afterlife are bad arguments.

And remember, my main point here is that I think many people in the NDE community believe, just as many religious people do, that everything we do in this life is without ultimate value or meaning unless there's an afterlife/immortality. This is one of the arguments that Nagel takes apart in his famous essay.
 
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#32
You make it sound as though Nagel has changed his mind and now regrets what he wrote all those years ago in the Absurd. In fact, there's no contradiction here. It's perfectly consistent to say that materialism cannot explain consciousness, value, logical and mathematical truth etc, but also at the same time to say that the arguments given by many people about life having no meaning without a God and an afterlife are bad arguments.

And remember, my main point here is that I think many people in the NDE community believe, just as many religious people do, that everything we do in this life is without ultimate value or meaning unless there's an afterlife/immortality. This is one of the arguments that Nagel takes apart in his famous essay.
Yes, but there's just as many in the materialist community who ultimately believe that life has no value or meaning as well. So the points kind of moot.
 
#33
Yes, but there's just as many in the materialist community who ultimately believe that life has no value or meaning as well. So the points kind of moot.
Nagel's point is that there doesn't seem to be any connection between this life having meaning and the existence of a God and/or an afterlife.

By the way, I agree with Liberty that traditional ways of thinking and traditional concepts like atheism, theism, materialism and dualism are holding us back. Nonetheless, either consciousness ends at death or it doesn't, and if I'm right about believers thinking that life without an afterlife = only meaninglessness and despair, then we cannot possibly expect them to be fair and objective in dealing with the evidence.
 
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#34
Haruhi, many materialists want to go on living after the death of their body. Just look at Kurzweil and the transhumanists for evidence of this. Also, many materialists want desperately to see their loved ones again, and want the likes of Hitler to be punished for what he's done. In many cases, the materialists want exactly the same things that the believers want. The difference is, the materialists don't think these things are true. Many philosophers and scientists simply don't believe in free-will or the afterlife. I hope they're wrong about this.
You forgot a third classification, the knowers. Knowers don't believe, looks like your a believer.

But let's not try to suggest that there's some big conspiracy or hidden agenda behind it all.
There most certainly are hidden agendas, dozens of them, but the main agenda, is to continue the FUD campaign which separates the power from the people and the people form the Source.

It is completely conspiratorial by the very definition of conspiracy. Ask your local District Attorney, he'll tell you in short order what a conspiracy is.
 
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#35
Nagel's point is that there doesn't seem to be any connection between this life having meaning and the existence of a God and/or an afterlife.

By the way, I agree with Liberty that traditional ways of thinking and traditional concepts like atheism, theism, materialism and dualism are holding us back. Nonetheless, either consciousness ends at death or it doesn't, and if I'm right about believers thinking that life without an afterlife = only meaninglessness and despair, then we cannot possibly expect them to be fair and objective in dealing with the evidence.
Absolutely false, and you're going to have to back that claim up with evidence and not just state it as a fact.
 
#36
Absolutely false, and you're going to have to back that claim up with evidence and not just state it as a fact.
Well, it does for some. IME, it's most, but not all. (assuming you were only objecting to the claim that "believers" also believe that life is meaningless if the afterlife doesn't exist and there isn't anything psi/paranormal/supernatural out there.)
 
#37
Absolutely false, and you're going to have to back that claim up with evidence and not just state it as a fact.
I said IF I'm right about that. I hope I'm wrong about that, and I also hope there is an afterlife, but from all the believers I've met and read, I do get the strong feeling that they think life is meaningless and valueless if there's no afterlife, and of course I get this feeling from Alex almost every time he opens his mouth.

Anyway, as I've said, if Alex, Sheldrake and Radin were to come out and say that this life is full of meaning and value even if there's no God/afterlife/psi, then I'm wrong, but I don't think they could ever bring themselves to say it.
 
#38
I said IF I'm right about that. I hope I'm wrong about that, and I also hope there is an afterlife, but from all the believers I've met and read, I do get the strong feeling that they think life is meaningless and valueless if there's no afterlife, and of course I get this feeling from Alex almost every time he opens his mouth.

Anyway, as I've said, if Alex, Sheldrake and Radin were to come out and say that this life is full of meaning and value even if there's no God/afterlife/psi, then I'm wrong, but I don't think they could ever bring themselves to say it.
No, you entirely side-stepped my assertion.

You claimed that if believers don't see meaning and value in life if there is no afterlife, then "then we cannot possibly expect them to be fair and objective in dealing with the evidence." I claimed that that was patently unsupported, and you never addressed my point. Your claim was first "I'm right about believers thinking that life without an afterlife = only meaninglessness and despair", which wasn't what I was pointing out. I was pointing out that you followed up with saying that we cannot expect them to be fair and objective, and I called BS.
 
#39
I said IF I'm right about that. I hope I'm wrong about that, and I also hope there is an afterlife, but from all the believers I've met and read, I do get the strong feeling that they think life is meaningless and valueless if there's no afterlife, and of course I get this feeling from Alex almost every time he opens his mouth.

Anyway, as I've said, if Alex, Sheldrake and Radin were to come out and say that this life is full of meaning and value even if there's no God/afterlife/psi, then I'm wrong, but I don't think they could ever bring themselves to say it.
Sheldrake and Radin remain neutral on the subject of an afterlife, from what I know of them. Dean Radin's blog states he is unconvinced of survival of personality after bodily death. Sheldrake is really not concerned with the afterlife.

So it seems you just simply haven't done enough homework, and maybe you should study up a little more before you post on this forum and look silly?
 
#40
I don't think anyone is completely unbiased. The fact that "psychological denial" happens seems to strongly imply that a lot or most people tend to regularly hang onto interpretations of events and evidence that make them feel good.
 
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