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Alfadur
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 05:36 PM
I've had this slightly philosophical thread in mind for a while, and now I finally bothered to make it.

Our usual assumption is that when you die, it's all over, and nothing remains. However, I find this just as devoid of reason as saying there is a heaven or any afterlife at all. "Realistic" people might try to tell me that when I die there will be "nothing", only an eternal blackness. But what is the base for that claim? Absolutely none.

1. Have they ever died or had a near-death experience? Then, how come they are certain what it feels like after death?

2. If they claim that it is because all brain activity will cease, then have they ever experienced this nothingness they talk about? If not, how can they claim that it exists? This is as speculative as assuming the existence of God. No one that I know of has ever experienced nothing. There is always something everywhere. It contradicts the laws of physics.

3. If they say that they have actually experienced nothingness, and that it was the state before they were born, then how do they know how it was like then, if they were not even born yet? If they know what nothing feels like because they were not born, I can claim to know what the Big Bang was like or the first human being making a fire, because I was not born in that time too. Does not that seem unrealistic? Then why does the "nothingness assumption" seem the most realistic? Because they cannot remember what it was like before being born? Why should the fact that there is no memory before we were born account for nothingness before and after life, if the fact that there is no memory of early stages of consciousness does not?

Anyways, discuss and give your input.

Lady Vengeance
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 08:14 PM
Well...when the brain dies, it doesn't just disappear into nothing. The mind is a field made of various elements, a special kind of organization. When the brain dies, all its elements remain in the physical universe, but in a different order. We're lucky to be that order for a limited time and call it "I".

Most people are probably terrified of life beyond this life. Consequences would follow. It's bad enough to have a lifetime of contemplating your own fuck-ups, so just imagine an eternity of it. When you're old and sick, you'd probably prefer to be dead forever.


1. Have they ever died or had a near-death experience? Then, how come they are certain what it feels like after death?
Hmmm, just because I've never actually experienced something, doesn't mean I can't have a pretty good reason for assuming that it exists. For example, an electron, proton, an atomic number, a super-intelligent African, und so weiter. It's called "inference to the best explanation".

Of course, with these life-and-death questions, you can't ever prove anything. I think it's pretty fair to say that we'll probably never know the answer to the OP, and that there are many hints that what we think of as the real-life physical world is a smaller part of something greater.

Ralf
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 09:23 PM
Maybe you would appreciate a Biblical description of what happens after death?

For dust you are, and to dust you will return.

A live dog is better than a dead lion for there is no devising, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol the place to which you are going.

(Both recited from memory so let me be if its not word perfect).

From a logical point of view, if you have a bad head injury, you can end up brain damaged, this is evidence that our intellect and awareness is totally dependent on physical matter, namely the brain.
It doesn't exist in some spiritual entity called "the Soul" or some such, if it did the brain injury wouldn't affect you.

Dvergr
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 09:42 PM
Our usual assumption is that when you die, it's all over, and nothing remains. .

I'd start by saying this is a modern day science oriented Atheist phenomena. I think if you study just about every single ancient culture they had some idea of where they would go after death. I think when science and monotheism turned the world away from grey areas and speculation based on natural-spiritual interpretation people became fear based. As people became fear-based, afraid of their own judgement of entering places like Hell, (because they had been so brain washed into believe there were only two main options after life, the best place and the worst place - Heaven and Hell) then what sprouted out of it was either a return to the original cultural based religions which had polytheism, animism, nature based spirits, etc or a leap towards Atheism. I would view that as a new phenomena with absolutely no cultural attachment to anywhere on earth, the only attachment being the black and white view of life and death which sprouted out of organized monotheistic religion in the first place.

The Horned God
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 10:30 PM
"Realistic" people might try to tell me that when I die there will be "nothing", only an eternal blackness. But what is the base for that claim? Absolutely none.

Well first of all "nothing" and "eternal blackness" are two different things. Nothing means absolutely "no-thing", so nothingness by definition could not have any colour or hue associated with it. Neither would there be any perception of time because there would be no conscious observer to perceive time and no state of change by which to mark it.

Moving on; 100% proof positive for anything is a very hard thing to come by. Therefore the most rational approach to life is to assess the likelihood of a particular outcome and choose our actions accordingly.

Now, we know that the ability to think and remember things as well as to speak, see, hear, touch etc are all made possible by the functions of certain areas of the brain. We know this because when the part of the brain responsible for one of these abilities gets damaged or degenerates due to age, that ability is lost.

Therefor if damage to a part of the brain can destroy one or more of our senses what is the likelihood that destruction of the entire brain at death will result in all our senses being returned to us perfectly unscathed? I would suggest that in the absence of powerful evidence to the contrary that the likelihood of that happening is very low indeed.

Forest_Dweller
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 10:53 PM
When you die you won't experience nothingness because your senses will cease to funtion anymore. If you believe this is the only life you have and there is no afterlife, you become an inanimate object devoid of consciousness much like dead tree bark.

Hands
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 11:23 PM
Mentally you personally will stop, most likely, unless we are extremely false in our theory's ;)
But the world doesn't stop when you die.

Of course there is life after death, not for you though, but your kin, who are the next you.

This is why we must secure Northern European culture and morals, for our children are just the next us. But unlike us they are ready to improve further than we ever could. It is never enough to just know who we are, we have to be sure the future children of the north know who they are when we pass, this is our responsibility.

So yes there is life after death, but not for you technically. But why be so linear when we can take pride knowing that our kin are better versions of ourselves, but remember we must make sure that they are this, so that we never die.

Off topic from the current flow of discussion slightly, sorry :)

Van Wellenkamp
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 12:17 AM
Has anyone heard the tales of people while undergoing brain surgery and have no recordable brain functions are able to recall specific details about their procedure. Additionally some even report with high degrees of accuracy things that occur in other parts of the hospital and beyond. I wonder if the escence that we call "I" is something more and just transforms when the biological functions stop. Maybe the body just fails to be a productive medium for our escence to occupy. A thought provoking post for certain.

Þoreiðar
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 12:26 AM
I believe in nature. Nature moves in perpetual circles; generation, degeneration and regeneration. If our age-old observation of this should have taught us anything, it is that life does not simply disappear into nothingness. It transforms.


From a logical point of view, if you have a bad head injury, you can end up brain damaged, this is evidence that our intellect and awareness is totally dependent on physical matter, namely the brain.Only the intellect and awareness detectable and subjectable to this realm we currently find ourselves in.

Tom Schnadelbach
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 12:40 AM
I cannot think of anything worse than personal immortality. Even if you go to heaven or Valhalla. After the first couple of trillion years, there would be nothing left to do that you had not done millions of times. Think of the boredom.

Thusnelda
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 12:57 AM
Thinking about such questions too much can make you depressive and melancholic, or it can drive you "nuts" for some hours. When my beloved grandmother died some years ago I was thinking a lot about what could happen after death...and where my ancestors could be now. In some way I believe in the faith of our heathen ancestors but we can´t leave the results of modern scientific research out of consideration, that would be naive. These results bring us more knowledge and wisdom but no clear answers. Quite the opposite is the case: The more scientists reveals about life and the universe, the more questions and riddles pop up.

Just think about the Big Bang: How can can emerge everything from nothing?

Well, my personal conclusion is that everything has a reason! :) Our existence has a reason, our planet has a reason, our universe has a reason and the laws of physics have a reason. Just realize that our solar system and our universe is like it is because millions of individual factors fit together in an almost magical way! I´ve read that - if the gravitational force was just a little bit different - there wouldn´t be any planets or stars because the molecules wouldn´t attract each other enough. Or if the atoms had different sets of electrons and protons, the elements of nature would look different. After Big Bang, 99,9999% of all positive matter was destroyed by antimatter in less than a second, but some positive matter remained (that´s all what makes the universe!) because for some strange reason there was a tiny bit more matter than antimatter created by the Bing Bang...WHY?

Million or even billion of individual atomic, molecular and physical laws and conditions work together in a way that life is possible. Think of it like the most complicated clockwork and multiply it with infinite. <-- Only one single different factor and we wouldn´t be here! This can´t be coincidence, by no way.

I´m sure there´s more than this. Is there a creator? Is our universe just an experiment by unbelievable creatures who live in a 4D- or 6D space?

So many open questions, and I expect to get some answers after death. And if not then I can´t care about it anymore, anyway...it´s mind-blowing to think about it. But at the end of the day we´re all stardust because it were the supernovas who created all of the heavy elements necessary for organic life. Without supernovas, there would be only hydrogen, helium and some minor elements. All elements above in the chart were created by nuclear fusion and supernovas.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleosynthesis)

MidgardPatriot
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 01:21 AM
You have to understand the spirit in which these sort of things are written, then it all falls into place.

The resurrection. Before Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons celebrated Spring Equinox, Eostara (Easter), as a time when nature came back to life after 'dying' during winter - trees bud, flowers bloom, birds lay their eggs. Christianity overlaid the existing pagan celebrations at the Spring Equinox with a story of Jesus coming back to life. Of course he happened to be born at Winter Solstice, Yule.

The afterlife. We enter the afterlife through our descendents. Our children take our form, our essential 'spirit', into the future after we die.

There is nothing supernatural about spirituality, it is all firmly grounded in nature. When you die, you pretty much die in my opinion.

Ocko
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 01:31 AM
Depends what kind of facts one accepts.

People equalize brain with 'I'. When the brain ( basically fat and some nerve tissue) dissolved after death then the person disappears too. The equalization of fat with I is voodoo and not science.

Thoughts are not materiell and therefore for science they do not exist.

Well, science is therefore based on things which do not exist according to science. Pretty much nonsense.

In the 40's some scientists trained mice a trick and then fried some parts of the mouse brain (with the lock-burner of his wife btw) to find out in which part of the brain the trick is stored. They fried all different parts of the brain but the mice could still do the trick. The conclusion was that those things are not stored in the brain.

There are anyhow connections between the brain and certain functions. but the whole thing is more flexible than expected as scientists learned that other parts of the brain can take over functions from destroyed parts.

Cutting edge science tells that people can grow new neural pathway depending on their mental/spiritual exercises. What that tells is that the I, the one who thinks develops the brain according to it's thinking. Which means that the brain is the material representation of something non-material.

The assumption that when the brain dies the I dies too is not logically determined, there are other possibilities which cannot be excluded logically.

Th one most cultures have is that the body dies away and the spirit continues.

dr. Kuebler Ross studied dying and death and had many. Experiences proving to her that people live on after death.

Given that this experience is not so uncommon and can be made by yourself with out-of-body techniques, there is no doubt that people live on.

Dvergr
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 02:00 AM
I cannot think of anything worse than personal immortality. Even if you go to heaven or Valhalla. After the first couple of trillion years, there would be nothing left to do that you had not done millions of times. Think of the boredom.

Well if those places constantly change over thousands - millions of years like on earth and they are like a thousand or million earths, if you could only wander them by foot, then by the time you returned to the place you originally started after exploring every single aspect of the previous lands you would have a completely different geography, plant life, animals and insect life and different way in which every part of that interacts with each other. If reincarnation is a true cycle of nature and we are experiencing it right now, then why since as a young child do we still find ways to entertain ourselves and new places to explore ? Should we not be bored with this Earth which we might have inhabited many times over ?

EQ Fighter
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 03:39 AM
Thinking about such questions too much can make you depressive and melancholic, or it can drive you "nuts" for some hours. When my beloved grandmother died some years ago I was thinking a lot about what could happen after death...and where my ancestors could be now. In some way I believe in the faith of our heathen ancestors but we can´t leave the results of modern scientific research out of consideration, that would be naive. These results bring us more knowledge and wisdom but no clear answers. Quite the opposite is the case: The more scientists reveals about life and the universe, the more questions and riddles pop up.

Just think about the Big Bang: How can can emerge everything from nothing?

Well, my personal conclusion is that everything has a reason! :) Our existence has a reason, our planet has a reason, our universe has a reason and the laws of physics have a reason. Just realize that our solar system and our universe is like it is because millions of individual factors fit together in an almost magical way! I´ve read that - if the gravitational force was just a little bit different - there wouldn´t be any planets or stars because the molecules wouldn´t attract each other enough. Or if the atoms had different sets of electrons and protons, the elements of nature would look different. After Big Bang, 99,9999% of all positive matter was destroyed by antimatter in less than a second, but some positive matter remained (that´s all what makes the universe!) because for some strange reason there was a tiny bit more matter than antimatter created by the Bing Bang...WHY?

Million or even billion of individual atomic, molecular and physical laws and conditions work together in a way that life is possible. Think of it like the most complicated clockwork and multiply it with infinite. <-- Only one single different factor and we wouldn´t be here! This can´t be coincidence, by no way.

I´m sure there´s more than this. Is there a creator? Is our universe just an experiment by unbelievable creatures who live in a 4D- or 6D space?

So many open questions, and I expect to get some answers after death. And if not then I can´t care about it anymore, anyway...it´s mind-blowing to think about it. But at the end of the day we´re all stardust because it were the supernovas who created all of the heavy elements necessary for organic life. Without supernovas, there would be only hydrogen, helium and some minor elements. All elements above in the chart were created by nuclear fusion and supernovas.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleosynthesis (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikip edia.org%2Fwiki%2FNucleosynthesis))

I would say that science is very good at explaining the process of Mater and Energy, but beyond that you get into very sticky Realms in which we as a species have not developed any sort of communication to describe.

Basically what we do is simply give it a word like Spirit or Super Natural, or Metaphysics. It should also be pointed out that this is also why very advanced ideas in physics such as string theory begin to look somewhat like a religion.

But this pretty much does not change the fact that we simply cannot explain what we are seeing in those Realms. From a shear mechanical perspective there really is no reason why, most or not all of the data in a persons brain could not be uploaded into another location.

I would say if you start boiling down the aspect of "What the Soul is" most likely what you will find is that it is a mathematical algorithm which like any other law of physics does not exist in the real world. The brain on the other hand is a biological circuit that gives this algorithm a form.

The next question you have to ask is, "Is there some form of storage system or aspect that stores this data, or will we create one in the future?"

If you ask me the invention of the computer will be the watershed moment to the Human Race evolving into something that just a bit different that what we understand now. So in this respect we may have to invent new forms of science that can look beyond the Matter/Energy barrier.

I think the best way to look at some of this stuff is by starting with the Idea of how civilizations advance and use energy. It is called the Kardashev scale (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wiki pedia.org%2Fwiki%2FKardashev_scale)

I would say that once you get to at lest a type 3 civilization from a physical perspective you are more or less immortal. Meaning you pretty much have control of matter and energy.

And that would mean the ability to store data from life forms, most likely.

Not sure if this answers any questions, but I think these are the best principals we have at this point in time to examine this topic.



There are anyhow connections between the brain and certain functions. but the whole thing is more flexible than expected as scientists learned that other parts of the brain can take over functions from destroyed parts.


That is done all the time in Computers it is called a Virtual Machine. Which is a machine running inside another machine, the actual location of the hardware is more or less irrelevant as long as the whole computer at large has the ability to carry it all.



Cutting edge science tells that people can grow new neural pathway depending on their mental/spiritual exercises. What that tells is that the I, the one who thinks develops the brain according to it's thinking. Which means that the brain is the material representation of something non-material.

I can see this as a possibility as well. Although I do know that if they know the location in the brain, then they can with some degree of accuracy image what you are processing in that location with MRA technology. (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsingular ityhub.com%2F2009%2F01%2F21%2Fmind-reading-revisited%2F) As Wild as that may sound.

If you try and extrapolate this technology out to maybe 100 years in the future assuming we do not destroy ourselves, then it seems likely that you will have a type of mental collective among human beings, which is currently a very freaky prospect.

The benefits of something like this would be enormous on a technological development scale, because they would be able to cloud process concepts directly mind to mind as opposed the way it is done today.

It would also mean a type of immortality, if those thoughts could be stored.

The down side of this world will be zero privacy even on your own mind, and currently I do not think most people are ready for that type of world.

Elessar
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 04:43 AM
I cannot think of anything worse than personal immortality. Even if you go to heaven or Valhalla. After the first couple of trillion years, there would be nothing left to do that you had not done millions of times. Think of the boredom.
-Assuming your material-temporal-cognitive state transcends death into another physical dimension of existence.

Although it prods at me from time to time, I don't let contemplating the afterlife play too much into my personal philosophy, rather a quote from Marcus Aurelius comes to mind: “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

Tom Schnadelbach
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 07:37 AM
Well if those places constantly change over thousands - millions of years like on earth and they are like a thousand or million earths, if you could only wander them by foot, then by the time you returned to the place you originally started after exploring every single aspect of the previous lands you would have a completely different geography, plant life, animals and insect life and different way in which every part of that interacts with each other. If scientists are correct, eventually the lights are going to go out throughout the universe. All matter will cease to move. Entropy. Cold death of the universe. And we'd have to go on and on and on.
If reincarnation is a true cycle of nature and we are experiencing it right now, then why since as a young child do we still find ways to entertain ourselves and new places to explore ? Should we not be bored with this Earth which we might have inhabited many times over ?
Because most children do not remember (most) of their past lives. For them, everything is new.

I'm personally not sure that this is not someone's computer program. Even if that is only how Jehovah, for instance, made the world. Jehovah might be some pimply faced 16 year old kid, relatively speaking, living in his mom's basement. No, I don't really believe in Jehovah.

Dvergr
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 03:09 PM
I'm personally not sure that this is not someone's computer program.

I find it interesting that throughout time these kinds of beliefs are generally based on their current understanding of the universe. For one ancient culture the northern lights were created by a fox whipping it's tail into the snow (see Finnish Lapland cultures). For the more advanced, but pre-1970's society the northern lights are created by the solar particles from the sun interacting with he magnetosphere. Now that we can create so much with computers, suddenly the sun and the stars may have been created with computers ... well are computers the end-all, is there nothing more to technology and understanding, but a physical device which has only existed in the main stream for 30 or 40 years ? Remember that we created computers. Computers are a modern day tool, like Mjolnir was to the Old Norse. Mjolnir became a focal point of their relation to the understanding of the universe because of how important it was of a modern day tool, it could perform mythical tasks beyond what an ordinary tool could do. But there was no proof of this beyond a concept and belief. Never did they think computers were one day be created, so when I hear people mention the universe can be related and created based on the tool of the modern day computer I wonder if they recognize one day there will be a more important tool to them, which future cultures will relate to the understanding of the universe, and the stubborn scientific oriented person will declare this future tool the "end-all understanding of the universe".

feisty goddess
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 03:46 PM
I think both theories are mostly false. We have a brain, which stops it's functioning when we die, but that doesn't mean parts of us don't survive. I think it's just that we are existing in a different form, without our brain, which is just a limited organ that allows the soul function in the earth environment. Our experiences, memories, and even elements of our personality get repressed into the "nonphysical" mind (which isn't really nonphysical, but not part of the organic matter we can measure through science). But anyway, there is not "nothingness" after death. It is because we have brains that are wired to allow us to survive in life that we can't understand it. Neither do our emotions, memories, and thinking remain intact like christians or other religionists make it out to.

BTW, people with head injuries don't always experience signifigant cognitive decline. Sometimes they just have a personality change or just never feel the same. I know what it's like because I think I probably had some minor brain damage from being exposed to a substance in adolesence. My emotions flattened (I looked like I was in a fog), I tried to become more "intellectual" or philosophical, and I acted more agressive. This actually brings up an interesting phenomenon, savantism. This is an example of where, when the physical mind is in decline (either cognitive or other), the "nonphysical" mind takes over for it.

Sigyn
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 10:43 PM
I'm personally fond of the Finnish concept of "Tenhi", where the dead are unaware that they're dead, and wander around in this world doing what they normally do, just as another dimension of reality. It makes the most sense, perhaps.


I think both theories are mostly false. We have a brain, which stops it's functioning when we die, but that doesn't mean parts of us don't survive.
Well, our ''consciousness'' is basically our perception of the real world and our memory, which is filtered through our brain. When we lose that, we die.

Ralf
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 11:43 PM
For those that are interested, can I give more Biblical input into the discussion as I see folk here, although not professed Christians, using terms such as "soul", which is probably a mis-understood Biblical term, that has permeated society to the extent even non Christians have embraced it.

Churches of man teach that the soul is something inside you that lives on after death, this doctrine however seems to then contradict the scripture I quoted earlier where the Bible says, "dust you are, and to dust you will return".

However, rather than describing the "soul" as something that lives on, the Bible uses the term thus:-

Genesis 2:7

King James Version (KJV)

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

So it doesn't say God formed a man of the dust of the ground and put a soul in it, it says when the breath of life was put into the dust formed object in the shape of a man, it "became" a soul. That is, it became a living entity.
The Hebrew word translated as soul, literally means, "life as a breather".

Modern science confirms oxygen, taken into the blood as ox-haemoglobin, is what gives us life, interesting then to read what the Bible says about the location of soul,

Leviticus 17 Rather, For the soul of all flesh is its blood with its soul (i. e. its blood and soul together): therefore spake I to the children of Israel, Ye shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood,

This is the reason Abrahamic religions like Judaism and Islam have their kosher and Halal meats. Its Gods breath of life, that is carried in blood, that is the Biblical meaning of Soul. Oxygen animated dust.




Another Biblical falsehood that is related to the above misinterpretation of the word soul, is this whole business of life after death, it is found in all religions including Christianity which claims when you die you go to Heaven or Hell, yet Gods punishment in Eden was

"17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. "

Not go and live somewhere else where you will be eternally tortured, dust you are and to dust you will return, that is what death and Gods punishment for sin is.

So, where does all this religious business of having a soul that goes off and lives somewhere else, that doesn't die come from?

Genesis 3 v 4 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"

Its the original lie, from the Devil, the same lie that has permeated the thinking of even non religious people, and that is perpetuated by all his religions including Christendom.

And just as people can "hear voices in their head", the Devils host is quite capable of putting images in peoples minds to perpetuate his original lie that you don't die, like these people who see a light at the end of a tunnel with their dead relatives welcoming them, when they haven't really died, all thats happened is their heart has stopped beating for a bit.

feisty goddess
Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 12:31 AM
I'm personally fond of the Finnish concept of "Tenhi", where the dead are unaware that they're dead, and wander around in this world doing what they normally do, just as another dimension of reality. It makes the most sense, perhaps.


Well, our ''consciousness'' is basically our perception of the real world and our memory, which is filtered through our brain. When we lose that, we die.

That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.

Þoreiðar
Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 01:52 AM
[...] I see folk here, although not professed Christians, using terms such as "soul", which is probably a mis-understood Biblical term, that has permeated society to the extent even non Christians have embraced it.'Soul' is not an originally Christian term.

Ralf
Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 03:24 AM
'Soul' is not an originally Christian term.

Well yes I realise that as it can be found in the Old Hebrew Testament, the point I was trying to make was that our present society, though no longer as Christian as it once was, still has retains the trappings of its once Christian past and effects most peoples notion of an inner being that lives on after death.

Pagan religions that might also share this belief and that predate Abraham I mentioned are believing the Devils original lie, though the average person of today has little knowledge of, or are effected by the modern revival of these pre-Christian beliefs, most of which are variations, including Christendoms version of Christianity, of the worship of Nimrod.

EQ Fighter
Sunday, March 25th, 2012, 07:54 PM
That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.

Lets rephrase it this way.

Your brain is a biological computer that runs the Mathematical Algorithm which amounts to your Soul or software which is "You".

But just like most of the other things that exist in mathematics, they are virtual in that since that there is no real substance. "You" exist on your brain as long as it has the ability to process that data.

What we do not know is that once the neurons which store that information in chemical electrical form, deteriorate and die, can that information could be retained?

My guess is the answer is yes.

But with current technology and the current state of human knowledge we just don’t know.

Alfadur
Monday, March 26th, 2012, 01:53 PM
What we do not know is that once the neurons which store that information in chemical electrical form, deteriorate and die, can that information could be retained?
Indeed, I tend to agree with that. It's one of the main reasons why I started this thread. However, I don't think we'll ever find the answer to exactly what happens after physical death - I doubt human technology will ever go that far.

The scientist Kary Mullins has a sensible opinion on this, in the interview fragment below. I agree with the opinion expressed in this interview, except that I am not of the opinion as she is that our mind will dissolve completely into nothingness (I have no beliefs yet on this topic, only an intuition). Here is her interview:


David: When I interviewed parapsychologist Dean Radin he described experiments that he did showing people images on a video screen that were either pleasant or shocking, while a galvanic skin response system continuously monitored the people’s reactions. A computer randomly chose the image five seconds before displaying it. The fascinating thing was that there was a significant change in the electrical conductivity of people’s skin five seconds prior to their seeing a shocking image.

Kary: I sat wired up in front of Radin’s machine myself one morning. I was intrigued. My skin conductivity could respond, not every time, but a statistically significant percentage of the time, to what sort of stimulus his absolutely random machine was going to present to me. I don’t know what it means, but five seconds is almost an infinity compared to fractions of a picosecond, so I don’t think that what Radin is investigating is the same thing as what Heisenberg is suggesting with the Uncertainty Principle and the fuzziness of time over ultra-short intervals. Both are weird from the standpoint of our normal sense of reality, but in a very different way. Picoseconds are not in our personal reality. Radin is addressing something to do with human minds on our time scale; whether our minds are really localized in space and time, like we normally think of them. He is not presenting a theory about things almost incomprehensibly small. He is demonstrating an empirical fact, a strange and unexpected property of things, on a scale of seconds, with which we are personally familiar, and he is doing it in a technically convincing way. I don’t know what it means, that’s why it’s intriguing.

On a related but very different note, in one of the chapters of my book, I was talking about whether a computer could be ahead of you by looking at your brain activity. Before you would know you were going to do something, it would know. I feel like that’s probably possible, but it doesn’t suggest any radical new concept.

What Radin is getting at is something more curious. If you think about yourself as something going through time, how thick are you? You’ve got to have a certain finite ‘thickness’ in time, or you wouldn’t exist. So you might be a fraction of a second, or a second wide, or five, sliding through time.

David: And your ‘thickness’ may change, depending on your neurochemistry at the time. (laughter)

Kary: Yes.

David: Perhaps our conscious experience of ‘now’ has a thinner ‘thickness’ than other unconscious aspects of our brains? I’ve wondered if this possibility might be an explanation for what people have described as precognition. What do you think?

Kary: It might be that certain parts of you are weeks, months or years wide. Or maybe some part of you is “now” all the time–from your birth (or maybe even before birth) to your death. Some part of you is in the future at any moment, and some part of you is in the past, because you couldn’t possibly be just in this infinitesimally thin thing we call “now”– because there wouldn’t be room for you in there. (laughter)

That’s using a lot of concepts that come out of physics and maybe don’t belong in that context, but I’ve always thought that a little bit of me has got to be in the future.

David: Or part of your brain can be processing information about an aspect of “now” that you’re not quite conscious of.

Kary: Not yet conscious of, or maybe you won’t ever be. Maybe it sticks out in lots of directions. (laughter) I mean, there’s no need for this place to be just three-dimensional space and time. We have a subjective sense of physics that is consistent with three-dimensional Euclidian geometry. Euclid probably did too. But, a lot of modern physics says that this place has more dimensions than that. String theory says that it is all made of strings, vibrating in eleven dimensions. We are made out of things that are eleven dimensional.

David: At least.

Kary: This physics claims that eight of those dimensions have shrunk to such proportions that we can’t perceive them in our normal life. They’re just not wide enough to see. But we can infer them from the properties of tiny particles that we can see with enormous machines that we can build at great expense. And we can only understand the properties of all the particles we know about, from those machines, if the strings that compose them exist in eleven dimensions. That is to say, if these things which we are postulating to explain the things that we can see with machines are really things–meaning, they have a finite spot where they are sometimes, and they have a certain energy associated with them–then they have properties that can only exist in an eleven-dimensional space. This concept would be helpful if you could imagine an eleven dimensional space, which I can’t. I’m still having trouble with five.

In my book I try to express this. I don’t like to preach to people and tell them what I think they should be, but a lot of people need to be waked up to the fact that they follow like sheep. They think that the world has gotten too complex and that they can’t decide for themselves about complicated issues.

Let’s look at global warming. If those guys with the satellite sensors and the banks of computers running global circulation simulation programs call a press conference to say, “If you don’t stop burning fossil fuels the earth is going to get hotter and hotter until you’re dead,” most people will believe them. They don’t think about the fact that with every scientific utterance that you hear or read, somebody’s making a living.

Scientists get paid for making statements like that, and the more impact that their statements seem to make on our life, the more we’re willing to support that sort of research. I make a case in my book for the fact that we’re supporting a lot of research for very foolish things. We’re still living on the frontier. We should be worrying about practical things.

David: Like the asteroids that may come crashing down on us.

Kary: Yes, like the asteroids. We’re spending three million dollars a year on that. We’ve spent three billion dollars on trying to figure out some way to experimentally confirm the existence of something called the Higgs particle. Nobody on this whole block cares about it, and nobody’s going to care about it, unless they happen to be in the group that discovers it.

We’re putting money into things that often don’t matter. If we believe there is a hole in the ozone, and the “experts” say we must replace the former refrigerants with new ones, patentable to a company like Monsanto, there is more profit to be made. The freon patents have run out. We will spend trillions on replacing it with something, equally likely to be bad for us in some way, and creating a black market for freon.

It’s a ridiculous waste of the world’s resources to be doing things like that, because there’s no evidence for a hole in the ozone. Some labs were probably about to go out of business and needed a reason to exist and be funded.

If you really care about the planet, you don’t have to always be torn by the latest fad, or the latest substitute for Catholicism–which I think environmentalism is in a way.

David: In other words, question authority and think for yourself.

Kary: And ignore alien orders. (laughter) Yes, absolutely question authority, because there isn’t any real authority. It’s a democratic place in a way. The whole concept of evolution says that we all have the same sort of beginnings. We don’t come from something above, telling us what’s right and what’s wrong. We have to figure it out for ourselves.

We’re here, and we each have a spirit inside of us somehow that can make those decisions–if you keep informed. Don’t read trash all the time. Every now and then read something that attempts to be factual, and try to make sense out it. But don’t accept it as being factual. Just accept the fact that if you look at enough information, for a long enough time, you will start being one of the people in the world that can make decisions about what’s really good for the planet.

David: What do you think happens to consciousness after death?

Kary: I think that consciousness decays to nothing after death. My approach is to ask myself what do I have evidence for? It seems like every living process does end at some point. It’s a fuzzy thing, but as your body dies, I think your consciousness probably dies with it. Now, that’s what I think–but what I would like to believe might be different from that. I’m not absolutely certain that that’s a question that I have enough evidence to answer. In science you’re supposed to have evidence.

It’s all right to have a hypothesis, but you still have to have some evidence. You need to have something, like an indication, to make the hypothesis more than just a wish. Of course, being a scientist doesn’t mean you don’t have wishes. But, from a scientific point of view, I would say consciousness is definitely associated with the body as we know it. There’s no reason to make up stories about things that we don’t know anything about.

However, when I’m thinking about what’s possible, then anything is possible. I think it would be pretty neat if we didn’t dissolve after our death. It’s not a question that there is an answer for. There’s no reason to think that consciousness continues after death, besides just the fact that we would like it, and that we don’t want to dissolve–but that’s not really a reasonable kind of a scientific premise.

You couldn’t get a National Science Foundation grant to study it properly, because we don’t have any kind of indication that consciousness survives death. There are a lot of people that think that consciousness continues after we die, but I don’t think that is reason for the scientist part of me to give it any truck at all. But there is a part of me, just like the rest of those people that feels immortal, and would like it to be that way. That question does not really have a rational answer.

David: It’s a question that fascinates me because I think it really stimulates the imagination.

Kary: Yes it does. If you were to take a vote around the planet, it would definitely come out that we are eternal and responsible somehow for ourselves and our actions forever. But that’s not a rational point of view. There’s nothing that we accept like that in science except for mathematical truths. The universe itself, we would say it changes, and it has a lifetime. And at some point, it will either return to a singularity, or it will just expand itself out of existence, or whatever. I mean, there’s nothing around us that has that property of being immortal.

David: When I spoke with Rupert Sheldrake he told me that he questions the idea that there are these eternal, unchanging mathematical laws that govern the universe.

Kary: He questioned that too?

David: Yeah, he thinks of them more like habits than laws, and that they could be evolving, just like everything else in the universe is evolving.

Kary: Our idea about mathematics is that, once a theorem is proven, that it will always be true, because of the whole interwoven structure of mathematical logic. But a lot of things that we think are true in terms of physics, which is different from mathematics, have changed–like Newtonian gravitation, for instance. In the Seventeenth Century it seemed to be true, then, after three hundred years, with more thinking and better observations, it turned out not to be exactly true. Relativity came along and said no, you’re dealing with elements like mass and length as though they were absolute and none of them are. Space is not absolute. Only the velocity of light is absolute. So everything had to be changed. But in mathematics, as long as we keep the definitions clear, it seems that a mathematical truth is eternal. The fly in the ointment, of course, is that mathematics does not say anything directly about reality. We make the associations intuitively and we also up the axioms for want of any other way to get them. But we wouldn’t want it to be simple here, would we?

David: What Rupert questions is the idea that universal constants, like the speed of light, or gravitational constants, remain eternally unchanging.

Kary: There’s no reason to think that those things can’t change.

David: Yet that’s the assumption that most scientists have.

Kary: The speed of light is something that actually is a measurement that we make, and special relativity says it will always be the same for everyone. But special relativity is just a theory in the same way that Newtonian mechanics was a theory. We could find out that in certain circumstances special relativity wasn’t quite true. What we found out from Newtonian mechanics was that, in certain circumstances, Newton was wrong. The mass of something does seem to increase if it is going, relative to us, at a speed near the speed of light. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be going near the speed of light. If it’s just moving at all, the mass increases. It’s just that the increase is kind of small until it gets up to a very high velocity. Newton thought that mass would always stay the same.

David: Has your use of psychedelics influenced your scientific work, and how has it affected your perspective on life in general?

Kary: I would say that it was a mind-opening experience. It showed me that it might be a lot weirder here than I thought it was. So pay attention. Know what your assumptions are, and which of those are just arbitrary. Notice that things might be a little bit different than you think they are. I wouldn’t say that it led to any particular developments in my thought, except that it just expanded it a little bit. I think almost anyone who’s had those experiences would say that this place might be a little weirder than it appears. I’m not so certain anymore that the world is exactly the way I think it is. Most people get fairly stuck in ways of thinking that really are the current fashion, the current theory–like Newtonian mechanics seemed to be the way that things were for two hundred years.

David: What is your perspective on the concept of God?

Kary: It’s a notion that really doesn’t solve any philosophical questions; it just puts it off a little bit. On the other hand, it’s a concept that occupies the minds of a heck of a lot of humans, so it’s an important concept to keep in mind. But if you look at it in a philosophical way, it simply puts off any kinds of thoughts that you might have of your origins, or of your purpose. To just say, I’m here because of Allah, and I’m here to do his will, doesn’t really tell you what to do, or why you’re here. It just gives it a name, and there’s nothing really specific about anything of it.

David: Do you think it’s possible that there could be any type of intelligence or consciousness inherent in nature?

Kary: Well, what we know of the universe is so big, and so complex–on a large scale or on a small scale–that nothing really should be all that shocking to us. If it turns out to have properties that echo various religious beliefs, I don’t think it would be terribly shocking.

But there’s no evidence for such a thing. If you read and follow the thinking of those theories that are prominent today in terms of physics–like how physicists envision the whole of existence–and when they start talking about things like quantum mechanics, you realize that this place is so complicated, and so non-intuitive in a way, that anything is really possible, and nothing should surprise you.

But, on the other hand, there’s no evidence that we are being lead by some divine purpose. There’s no evidence for that, and there’s no evidence against that. It’s not a question that science really needs to address, because there’s no evidence to support it. But we often ignore some of the weirdest things on the planet.

David: Like what?

Kary: Crop circles, for example. People might say that they don’t exist, or they’re all a hoax, but that’s pretty silly. I don’t think anyone could make some of the ones that I’ve seen. Either the pictures are faked, or the things are made by some kind of forces that we don’t quite understand. They’re not made by people going out in the middle of the night with sticks and ropes. There are a lot of things like that that we don’t understand.

If you ask people the question, “Have you ever had any experience that you just could not explain at all, but you couldn’t deny it?” most people will say, yes, that happened to me at least once. I consider that the experiences that I’ve had in my life are real in a sense. I don’t make them up. Some things have happened to me that I can’t explain, and I can’t deny that they happened.

David: What are some of the things that have happened to you that you can’t explain?

Kary: All kinds of things have happened to me that I can’t explain. They happen all the time. Don’t you ever have what you might call an intuition, but really it seems that you have seen into the future?

David: Sure.

Kary: I have that happen a lot. Just simple little things that are kind of contrary to any sort of scientific explanations that I can see. Actually, there’s nothing in present day physics that says that you can’t have precognitive experiences. Like I was saying earlier, part of you exists in the future. Present day physics says that the percentage of you that exists in the future drops off exponentially, and there’s not much of it really, but how much does it take to see something in the future? I have all kinds of experiences that don’t fit with the very simple and Newtonian picture of causality. Things seem to be connected by more dimensions than I can perceive with my vision, and modern physics says that’s true.

David: Why do you think it is that so many conventional scientists are opposed to the idea that telepathy or precognition might have a basis in reality?

Kary: Maybe they think there’s scientific reason to doubt that those things could possibly exist. I don’t think there is scientific evidence for these phenomena. Science has been silent on those things because scientists don’t know how to deal with them. They don’t really present a side we can grasp.

David: Actually there has been quite a bit of serious research done trying to measure things like telepathy, and other forms of psychic phenomena.

Kary: Yes, but it’s not been terribly successful. Some people claim to have telepathic powers, but they can’t always do it on demand.

David: I don’t think that anybody could ever have telepathic abilities or see into the future repeatedly. Or at least, I’ve never heard of anybody doing that.

Kary: I don’t think so. If somebody could, they probably would, wouldn’t they?

David: You’d think. (laughter)

Kary: If people can really see into the future consistently, then they ain’t telling me that. Nobody’s ever told me they could see into the future anytime they wanted.

David: But then weird things do happen though.

Kary: Yes they do. Weird things like me dreaming about the lottery. I don’t normally buy tickets. It has that element of somehow seeing into the future, but you can’t really understand how it works. Anyone who doesn’t think the world is much more mysterious than the simple picture that a physics laboratory would give you, has not really been watching closely. If you think that everything that goes on here follows a set of Newtonian rules of mechanics, or even Einsteinian kind of stuff, then you’re not paying attention.

David: There are a lot of people like that.

Kary: Yes, they’re not noticing it in their own life. They think it’s just a coincidence. It’s hard to say what the probability is that you will have a dream in which you’ve won the sixteen million dollar lottery, and in a few days, it is sixteen million, and you damn well almost win it. What is the probability of that? There’s no way to compute what the probability of having a premonition dream is, and having it be close.

David: You could start keeping a log of your dreams.

Kary: If you do keep a log, and you’re paying attention, then there will be more chances to notice things. There are more weird things going on in your life then you expect by pure chance. I’ve never had any luck moving things with my mind, like making a penny fall the right way. I know there are people who can guess them sometimes, but they can’t do it all the time. So, I would say that this place is not as well behaved as our theories about it would have it be.

And exactly what we are–which goes back to your question about whether or not consciousness vanishes when we die–is something that we don’t know. Most of the people in the world think that there is a nonphysical part of people. By nonphysical, I mean that you can’t weigh it. But if it weren’t physical in some way, if it never had any effects on what you think of as real, it wouldn’t matter whether it was there or not, would it?

There are a lot of people who feel this weird thing about their soul. However they define the soul, they think it’s there. They say that the soul has certain properties, and you can make it be either happy for you or sad, after you die, by doing certain things. I consider these people to not be deep thinkers.

David: Do you think their beliefs are some kind of psychological defense mechanism, or that their religious ideas come out of their fear of death?

Kary: I don’t know where it comes from. Different cultures have all kinds of myths that are strongly adhered to by people. Christianity is one, and Islam is another. There are things in Buddhism that I would look at in the same way. They’re just little myths that we don’t really know much about, yet some people feel very strongly about them. So if you are studying humans, you certainly would not ignore religion, because it’s probably one of the strongest forces that have affected us in the last three or four thousand years, and probably from long before that.

If you are studying what you think to be ‘the entirety of existence’–like somebody who studies physics would think–and you can’t put an experimental framework on it, then it’s not really useful to entertain that sort of myth. In other words, if there’s nothing you can do about it–you can’t measure it, use it to predict something with, or do something with it that you can’t do without it–then you have to ignore it. One of the principles in scientific investigations is that you keep it as simple as possible. You don’t introduce an extraneous idea that doesn’t have some sort of meaning in terms of an experimental proof that you can do.

So introducing this idea of a greater-than-human force–a god, with human characteristics (which is usually the way religions picture this thing, who has it all figured out–has no basis, as far as I’m concerned, in my experience, or in the experience of reliable observers that I have access to. I don’t see any reason to use that as a hypothesis, and try to figure out an experiment to prove it or not.

Sigyn
Monday, March 26th, 2012, 04:04 PM
That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.
Yes, but what would we be without our brain? That's where our consciousness is, after all. We die when our brain stops functioning. The question is, what happens with all the information and knowledge (our "personality") in our brain when it dies?

In the end, I agree with Alfadur above - we can only have intuitions about what happens in the afterlife, not set beliefs.

Erlkönig
Monday, March 26th, 2012, 07:25 PM
The question is, what happens with all the information and knowledge (our "personality") in our brain when it dies?

Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something. The problem is you only experience consciousness through the context of the brain, it is probable that you wont recognize yourself after death..

feisty goddess
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 12:18 AM
Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something. The problem is you only experience consciousness through the context of the brain, it is probable that you wont recognize yourself after death..

This is basically what I was trying to say in my previous post, except you did it better. The experiences we've had that develop our minds into what they are when we die don't go away, it just changes into a different form of "consciousness" without the electrical impulses of the brain. The experiences are repressed until almost nonexistant in the mind, but often they show up in deeply subconscious choices (how a person chooses to be early on in life or personality) in the next reincarnation on earth. When you die, you are losing the opportunity to live your life according to how you've currently been born. It is, in a way like going away for ever, but not really.

The interesting thing is, it's normal for children not to recognize past lives like you say, but in rare cases they do very vividly, which probably means there can be some peculiarity with the process of death in which they can retain some of their original consciousness.

The Horned God
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 04:37 AM
Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something.

While energy can't be created or destroyed, information can certainly become garbled. Atm there is no known medium in the universe that could sustain the consciousness other than structure of the brain and no reason to believe that the one exists.

EQ Fighter
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 06:03 AM
Indeed, I tend to agree with that. It's one of the main reasons why I started this thread. However, I don't think we'll ever find the answer to exactly what happens after physical death - I doubt human technology will ever go that far.

The scientist Kary Mullins has a sensible opinion on this, in the interview fragment below. I agree with the opinion expressed in this interview, except that I am not of the opinion as she is that our mind will dissolve completely into nothingness (I have no beliefs yet on this topic, only an intuition). Here is her interview:

I don’t think a Mathematical Algorithm can dissolve, because it is not there in the first place. What is there is an impression made on a cell, and multiply that trillions and billions of times in an organized system and you have a what could be called a Personality.

But like a program it is NOT real in any physical way. It is similar to Heisenberg uncertainty principal.

I’m not sure if we will get there with the software end of it, but it is highly likely we will get there with the computing power of it. That is if you believe in the theories put forth by Ray Kurzweil.

Erlkönig
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 05:46 PM
While energy can't be created or destroyed, information can certainly become garbled. Atm there is no known medium in the universe that could sustain the consciousness other than structure of the brain and no reason to believe that the one exists.

Why do you presume that consciousness cannot sustain itself in a form of pure energy.

The Horned God
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 07:03 PM
Why do you presume that consciousness cannot sustain itself in a form of pure energy.

My reasons are two fold; lack of evidence and evidence to the contrary. An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. However, there is no evidence at all for the proposition that consciousness survives the destruction of the brain. No disembodied consciousness has ever been shown to exist or communicate with us. Nor is there any scientific theory to suggest how such a thing would even be possible.

On the other hand we have a good general understanding of how conscious operates i.e it is a function of the brain. We also have a theory to explain how it comes about; it is a product of millions of years of natural selection.

GroeneWolf
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 07:23 PM
Nor is there any scientific theory to suggest how such a thing would even be possible.

There is no theory derived from the materialist philosophy that suggests how such a thing would be possible. For the existence of a non-corporeal consciousness it would require either an incomplete understanding of how such a thing would be possible under the basic assumptions of materialism, or discarding said philosophy altogether.

This I say of course because most scientists today are trained to work under the presumptions of materialism.

The Horned God
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 07:42 PM
This I say of course because most scientists today are trained to work under the presumptions of materialism.

Materialism in this sense comprises everything that exists including matter, energy and the fabric of space time. Therefor everything that can be observed to exist or theorized to exist based on observation comes under materialism. Once you go beyond materialism you enter the realm of philosophy, mysticism and... speculation.

Erlkönig
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 08:55 PM
On the other hand we have a good general understanding of how conscious operates i.e it is a function of the brain. We also have a theory to explain how it comes about; it is a product of millions of years of natural selection.

Actually we have a very primitive understanding of the brain, most discoveries have been very recent thanks to the use of PET's and fMRI's.


Therefor everything that can be observed to exist or theorized to exist based on observation comes under materialism.

Much of the known universe cannot be observed using conventional means, advances in technology allowed such things, and thusly it will continue. I think you overestimate your understanding of nature.

The Horned God
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 10:38 PM
Actually we have a very primitive understanding of the brain, most discoveries have been very recent thanks to the use of PET's and fMRI's.

I said a general understanding and I continue to hold that view. We know that information is transmitted through the brain by means of nerve signaling. we know of no other means that that kind of information could be stored or transmitted.




Much of the known universe cannot be observed using conventional means, advances in technology allowed such things, and thusly it will continue. I think you overestimate your understanding of nature.

Nature so far as we know, operates only in the material realm.If it was otherwise then animals would be expected to develop psychic or other supernatural powers because any animal that had such abilities would have a massive survival advantage. The fact that such supernatural abilities are not in evidence strongly suggests that they do not exist.

Scientific knowledge will indeed continue to expand but it won't be done by people who go around believing wild speculations on no proof at all.

Ocko
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 03:02 AM
Info isn't conducted through nerve cells.

Proof:
Prof Herbert Froehlich of the university of Liverpool, recipient of the prestigious Max-Planck-medal proofed that some sort of collective vibrations was responsible for getting proteins to cooperate together and carry out instructions of DNA and cellular proteins.. the now termed Froehlich frequencies: he proofed that below the cell membranes vibrations of certain frequencys are generated through the proteins. wave communication is the means by which smaller activities of proteins, the work of amino acids, are carried out and a good way to synchronize activities between proteins and the system as a whole.


I would ask you how the info is coded into electromagnetism and then decoded from electromagnetism into the info?

that is plain voodoo. And has nothing to do with science, it is junk science.


Walter Schempp proofed that biological process are quantum processes, that includes information between cells as well as higher functions as consciousness.

What he terms quantum memory is the memory which does not reside in our brain (short term and long term) but in the zero point field and has nothing at all to do with our brain. (though Laszlo theorizes that the brain is the retrieval mechanism to get the memories stored in the zero point field.

Heisenberg showed with his uncertainty principle that the mind effects matter.

so how would it do it of the the consciousness is bound to the brain? Can you explain that to me how brain-confined consciousness effects matter/energies which have no direct connection?

Princeton's Jahn proofed that one can effect machines with one's will. (he was after how the consciousness can effect the electrons in computers).


There is a ton of proof now that consciousness is a quantum process and has nothing to do with the mechanics which still spooks in many people's 'brain'. That is science from anno Tobak.

Ocko
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 03:13 AM
How does remote viewing work?

Does it works we know from many experiments from PEAR and SRI.

that consciousness is not connected to the brain is so plain obvious it is astonishing that the majority still beliefs that statement.

Consciousness is not connected to the brain and therefore the brain dies and consciousness lives on.

EQ Fighter
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 03:33 AM
I would ask you how the info is coded into electromagnetism and then decoded from electromagnetism into the info?


Well Neurons communicate with other Neurons via an electrical signal sent down to the dendrites. But you are right on this point.

I can not prove that memories are not stored in a quantum field of some sort.

I was in fact simply making an analogy to a computer where all memory is stored in Zero and One states.





Walter Schempp proofed that biological process are quantum processes, that includes information between cells as well as higher functions as consciousness.

What he terms quantum memory is the memory which does not reside in our brain (short term and long term) but in the zero point field and has nothing at all to do with our brain. (though Laszlo theorizes that the brain is the retrieval mechanism to get the memories stored in the zero point field.


Ok since you bring it up, this might be a mechanism that is worth exploring as an explanation for various aspects of "Personality" that we see on humans.



Heisenberg showed with his uncertainty principle that the mind effects matter.

I think what Heisenberg proved was it was impossible to observe a subatomic practical, because the act of observation will always affect the observed.



so how would it do it of the the consciousness is bound to the brain? Can you explain that to me how brain-confined consciousness effects matter/energies which have no direct connection?

You are asking a question that, needs to be ask to someone that has a degree in AI Computer Science and one in Biological Anatomy of the brain.

Unfortunately I’m NOT that person, so for now I will have to say I do not know.




There is a ton of proof now that consciousness is a quantum process and has nothing to do with the mechanics which still spooks in many people's 'brain'. That is science from anno Tobak.

Well we do have theories about how to model quantum computers, but at this stage in computer development we are not there yet. Maybe in 50 to 100 years?

In Any case some of your points deserve consideration so Ill check them out.

Ocko
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 06:12 AM
the information comes from the book 'The Field' by Lynn McTaggert. Sha has a wealth of more information. She interviewed an reinterviewed the cutting edge researchers and put it into popular language.

Very interesting book.

Erlkönig
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 07:56 PM
I said a general understanding and I continue to hold that view. We know that information is transmitted through the brain by means of nerve signaling. we know of no other means that that kind of information could be stored or transmitted.

Considering that we lack the capability to recreate brain tissue, I would say we have an incredibly limited understanding of the brain.



Nature so far as we know, operates only in the material realm.If it was otherwise then animals would be expected to develop psychic or other supernatural powers because any animal that had such abilities would have a massive survival advantage. The fact that such supernatural abilities are not in evidence strongly suggests that they do not exist.

Scientific knowledge will indeed continue to expand but it won't be done by people who go around believing wild speculations on no proof at all.

This entire response is off topic, my point was that observation is limited by ability. Scientific pursuit is based on the search of the unknown, one of the fathers of Scientific Method said "I kow that I know nothing". The ironic truth is science is impeded by stubborn negativists and moralists.

The Horned God
Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 05:05 AM
Considering that we lack the capability to recreate brain tissue, I would say we have an incredibly limited understanding of the brain.

Our definitions of what constitutes significant knowledge are at odds. The be able to "recreate" brain cells or any other type of cell from scratch would require nano technology to be perfected. Just because that has not been done yet does not imply that our understating of how the brain works is inaccurate. Brain cells can however be derived from stem cells (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120323/Scientists-artificially-derive-brain-stem-cells-from-connective-tissue-of-mice.aspx) they are no different from any other type of cell in that regard.
Furthermore, our knowledge of how the brain works is supported by the fact that several interventions are now possible to slow down, halt, reverse or ameliorate several brain diseases such as Parkinsons, MS, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia etc.


In the case of Parkinsons an operation is sometimes possible called "deep brain stimulation". An electrode is placed into the part of the brain that has degenerated and the cells there are stimulated to increase their level of signaling thereby reducing or eliminating the symptoms;

j3NjNKm0pio
How could a procedure like this be possible if "almost nothing" was known about how the brain functions?





This entire response is off topic, my point was that observation is limited by ability.

You are using the fact that certain things are currently beyond our knowledge to imply that reality behaves in a completely different way when it comes to the human brain than it does in any other tissue or substance. In the absence of compelling evidence to support your view, any rational person would have to conclude you are indulging in magical thinking.


Scientific pursuit is based on the search of the unknown, one of the fathers of Scientific Method said "I kow that I know nothing". The ironic truth is science is impeded by stubborn negativists and moralists.

Science is the art of the soluble. If a proposition is not testable it falls outside the realm of science. If a statement does not build upon what is already known in science then it will not be given much consideration by serious scientists. This is not because they are "negativists" or "moralists" but because such a proposition will in all likelihood be a complete waste of time.

As for your scientist who said "I know that I know nothing" I think you are referring there to Socrates, who wasn't a scientist but a philosopher. Socrates was also a man who as with all the ancients said many outlandish and incorrect things as well as making positive contributions to thought. If a statement is not backed up by compelling evidence then it doesn't matter who said it or what else he achieved in his life.All statements stand or fall on their own merits and not on the merits or demerits of the speaker.

aratus
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 04:48 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KuglHhTBpks#t=1s

here a very nice video i found in the net.
Philosophical consideration of Death.!!!!
after asking a greek neighbour the translation seems to be not that but, concidering the difficulty grade of the subject.
He just said the professors words are the philosophical terms
"EROS" for love but in a more wide meaning than in plain english and
"THANATOS" for death equally with the same problem of meaning.
Anyway the subject and his analysis was superb, he could easily have tought in LMU or Heidelberg or Tuebingen or elsewhere in an elite university I think!

Sigyn
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:28 AM
Interesting (if slightly disturbing) thread. The possibility of an afterlife is one of those things that are impossible to prove, but I tend to agree with these posts:


I cannot think of anything worse than personal immortality. Even if you go to heaven or Valhalla. After the first couple of trillion years, there would be nothing left to do that you had not done millions of times. Think of the boredom.


Most people are probably terrified of life beyond this life. Consequences would follow. It's bad enough to have a lifetime of contemplating your own fuck-ups, so just imagine an eternity of it. When you're old and sick, you'd probably prefer to be dead forever.

Living forever, trapped in the same body and personality, doesn't sound appealing to me. Even the idea of death and reincarnation sounds better.

þeudiskaz
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:46 AM
2. If they claim that it is because all brain activity will cease, then have they ever experienced this nothingness they talk about? If not, how can they claim that it exists? This is as speculative as assuming the existence of God. No one that I know of has ever experienced nothing. There is always something everywhere. It contradicts the laws of physics.


Actually, experiencing nothing is not against the laws of physics. What we experience, and what actually happens is not always the same. Take hallucinations as an example. A hallucination could easily defy the laws of physics - it isn't real.

We can assume that once the brain no longer sends or receives signals, that any sensory input is entirely destroyed. To think otherwise is entirely counter intuitive. Now this doesn't address the possibility of the existence of the soul - something that is entirely only speculative. Upon death, the brain ceases to function, and sensory input similarly ceases. This would result in nothingness. Again - though this doesn't necessarily mean that some form of you will not continue existing.

Ingvaeonic
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:58 AM
There is no empirical evidence to support the existence of a soul for the individual human being. Its existence, as stated above, is entirely speculative.


Again - though this doesn't necessarily mean that some form of you will not continue existing.

That I continue to exist in some form after my death presupposes something akin to a soul and as a materialist I cannot and do not accept this. Once the individual is dead, he or she no longer continues to exist in any form.

þeudiskaz
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 10:42 AM
There is no empirical evidence to support the existence of a soul for the individual human being. Its existence, as stated above, is entirely speculative.



That I continue to exist in some form after my death presupposes something akin to a soul and as a materialist I cannot and do not accept this. Once the individual is dead, he or she no longer continues to exist in any form.

Other than pure speculation, this is the best scientific guess that we have.

I have personal religious beliefs regarding the matter - but there is no actual evidence to back them up, so they don't belong in a strictly rational evaluation of what happens on death.

ablutive
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 01:43 PM
My personal thought on this topic is that since from moment to moment you are not identical as a person, that the best we have is continuity, bodily continuity, mental continuity but never sameness, it is genuinely accurate to say that if you have children, you have continued life in the material sense.

In a spiritual sense I think every time you seek to embody a particular principle you share in the immortality of that principle with everyone who ever did seek to embody it and the more so the more successfully you embody it.

Sawyer
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 02:05 PM
I agree with the way Socrates proved the immortality of the soul. In that contraries are always produced from contraries, warm comes from cold, awake from sleep, and vice-versa. Death coming from life, it must be that life also comes from death, and the immortal soul must exist in a realm before it can bring life from death, in a cycle. He also considered philosophy to merely be 'reminiscence', of some previous life or experience, which he believed was another proof of the pre-existence of the soul. Then he says that something that is the cause of a Form can never become it's opposite; and concludes that since the soul only brings life, it must then never admit it's opposite, death. Thus the soul would be immortal, as the body perishes.

That's just my paragraph summary of the Socratic dialogue Phaedo, which I recommend to those interested.

Primus
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 02:23 PM
I rather like the view that Marcus Aurelius held about death:

* Either there are benevolent gods, in which case death isn't to be worried about if you've lived the right kind of life.

* Or death is nothingness, in which case sensation isn't a concern any longer and you're free from the cares and concerns of life.

ablutive
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 02:27 PM
I rather like the view that Marcus Aurelius held about death:

* Either there are benevolent gods, in which case death isn't to be worried about if you've lived the right kind of life.

* Or death is nothingness, in which case sensation isn't a concern any longer and you're free from the cares and concerns of life.

Surely there is also the possibility of malevolent or indifferent gods?

Primus
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 02:36 PM
Surely there is also the possibility of malevolent or indifferent gods?

Not according to the Stoics, as that which is divine is perfectly good. A malevolent deity is a contradiction in terms. Indifferent gods are no better than those of the Epicureans and may as well not exist for all of the use they are.

Olavssønn
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 03:57 PM
Why do you presume that consciousness cannot sustain itself in a form of pure energy.

My reasons are two fold; lack of evidence and evidence to the contrary. An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. However, there is no evidence at all for the proposition that consciousness survives the destruction of the brain.

That is not true. There are indeed various kinds of evidence pointing in this direction - after looking at that with an open mind, one isn't that uncertain anymore as to whether some of our consciousness survives the death of the biological body. I'm thinking about this little interesting book among other things:

Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-death Experiences (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Evidence-Afterlife-Science-Near-death-Experiences/dp/0061452572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345301385&sr=8-1)

Their study of the NDE-phenomenon is quite detailed and methodical, debunking the common sceptic-arguments against its reality. When taking into regards every single line of evidence presented in the book, it seems very likely that some kind of extremely lucid consciousness indeed may exist outside of the brain.


Interesting (if slightly disturbing) thread. The possibility of an afterlife is one of those things that are impossible to prove, but I tend to agree with these posts:

Living forever, trapped in the same body and personality, doesn't sound appealing to me. Even the idea of death and reincarnation sounds better.

Well, just because a part of our consciousness may continue to exist after death, that doesn't mean one will necessarily exist for all eternity with the same body and personality, as you put it. I guess that this essence may manifest itself in many different forms and contexts.

The Horned God
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 08:59 PM
That is not true. There are indeed various kinds of evidence pointing in this direction - after looking at that with an open mind, one isn't that uncertain anymore as to whether some of our consciousness survives the death of the biological body. I'm thinking about this little interesting book among other things:

Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-death Experiences (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Evidence-Afterlife-Science-Near-death-Experiences/dp/0061452572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345301385&sr=8-1)

Their study of the NDE-phenomenon is quite detailed and methodical, debunking the common sceptic-arguments against its reality. When taking into regards every single line of evidence presented in the book, it seems very likely that some kind of extremely lucid consciousness indeed may exist outside of the brain.


The near death experience doesn't constitute proof of an afterlife any more than an hallucination constitutes proof of pink elephants. For one thing the individuals who have these experiences are not actually brain dead when the experiences occur, therefore they are almost certainly the result of brain activity of some kind.

CruxClaire
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:16 PM
The near death experience doesn't constitute proof of an afterlife any more than an hallucination constitutes proof of pink elephants. For one thing the individuals who have these experiences are not actually brain dead when the experiences occur, therefore they are almost certainly the result of brain activity of some kind.

Indeed, scientists have conducted various studies regarding the nature of near-death experiences, and some popular hypotheses are that they are trauma-induced hallucinations or instictively-triggered states of REM sleep and dreaming.

The Horned God
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:18 PM
Surely there is also the possibility of malevolent or indifferent gods?

Not according to the Stoics, as that which is divine is perfectly good. A malevolent deity is a contradiction in terms. Indifferent gods are no better than those of the Epicureans and may as well not exist for all of the use they are.

I don't buy it. Knowing what I know about this universe, (the vast majority of it being quite hostile to human life if not all life,) I think the possibility that the most powerful beings in this universe are at least indifferent to us is a very real one.

The Epicureans world on the other hand was bounded by the sea and the sky. They had absolutely no conception of the vastness and emptiness of the space that surrounds the earth.

Olavssønn
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:27 PM
The near death experience doesn't constitute proof of an afterlife any more than an hallucination constitutes proof of pink elephants. For one thing the individuals who have these experiences are not actually brain dead when the experiences occur, therefore they are almost certainly the result of brain activity of some kind.

You should really read the book. It would be hard to summarize all details in a post on this forum, but there are too many elements in a high number of case reports that really can't be explained by any sceptic-theory. And yes, the brain-activity is totally dead in some of the cases. Yet, some of the people who have been revived have told the doctors of clear, detailed and correct observations of what happened in the room while he/she was clinically dead. I could mention a hundred other details which can't be explained in any other way than the possibility that a lucid consciousness may exist independently of the brain.
This book is based upon the most detailed, comprehensive and scientifically systematic study of the phenomenon. The author is not a new age freak either. His conclusions are obviously well founded.

Kweperlat
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:37 PM
A very interesting thread!
I am in agreement with Olavssonn that there is proof that human consciousness, while in interaction with our intellect, does exist independently of the physical brain or intellect. And this in itself has far- reaching implications for coming to a better understanding of our very existence. But apart from this, there are other aspects that really baffle me at times!:

We indulge ourselves in very intellectual/scientific-cum-philisophical debates regarding the meaning (or lack thereof) of life! If we "arrived" (so to speak) on this planet only to spend a few measley years in laboriusly eking out a living, and then to die again and become nothing more than a memory in a photo on the wall, what is then the stupid reason for it all? Is that really all there is to life? REALLY?

So many of our contemporaries in this so-called modern, science glorifying, technological world go through life devoted to come to grips with the intricacies of this life through incisive, analytical, rational thinking and brilliant intellectual debate, on the one hand. On the other hand, many of those very same individuals are quick to contemplate the existence of aliens in outer space, they defend the evolution of homo sapiens from ape-like forebears to the brilliant globe trotters of our day with equal vehemence.

But should any "ape" dare to mention the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as a loving ,caring Father who assures us of eternal life if only we believe in Him, they explode in profanity! What fools dare believe in such crap!!

The question that irks me is this: What is easier than to believe in a living God, creator of the universe who only expects of me to put my trust in Him for all eternity? It does neither demand mind-crippling debate, nor groping-in-the-dark arguments.

No, He does not require of me to suspend my intellectual abilities or incisive thinking; that indeed brings me to greater understanding of the universe I live in, my purpose for living and my eternal destiny! No sweat!

SaxonPagan
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Although by no means an expert, I've read a lot of stuff to do with quantum physics over the years and it's quite mind-boggling where some of the theories can lead you!

Parallel universes, flexible time that goes both ways and at different speeds, extra dimensions beyond our perception, the material world being an illusion created by the mind etc... :-O There is now mounting (some would say overwhelming) evidence for all of these phenomena, and when you ponder the implications you realise that nothing can be ruled out!

I would say that, on the balance of probability, existence in some form continues after what we know as 'death' but its nature could be such that it is impossible to describe by relating it to our current experiences and using terms associated therewith.

SaxonCeorl
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 10:03 PM
Dying is like going to sleep permanently. There's nothing after it. Your mind and thoughts are wholly dependant of your physical brain. I mean, I appreciate that some people are uncomfortable with that, but that's how it is.

Sehnsucht
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 10:23 PM
I agree with the way Socrates proved the immortality of the soul. In that contraries are always produced from contraries, warm comes from cold, awake from sleep, and vice-versa. Death coming from life, it must be that life also comes from death, and the immortal soul must exist in a realm before it can bring life from death, in a cycle.

Death -> decomposition -> elements used in living organisms -> death -> and so on.

;)

SilverSay
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 11:14 PM
Has anyone here come across the idea of recalling past lives via hypnosis?

SilverSay
Saturday, August 18th, 2012, 11:41 PM
Dying is like going to sleep permanently. There's nothing after it. Your mind and thoughts are wholly dependant of your physical brain. I mean, I appreciate that some people are uncomfortable with that, but that's how it is.

As this remains unproven it is little more than your assumption. Mind, all afterlife theories are only that - theories. But considering your take on the subject, it's rather impossible that you could know from personal experience and therefore state as fact that, "that's how it is."

Sawyer
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 12:11 AM
Death -> decomposition -> elements used in living organisms -> death -> and so on.

;)

But this is simply the physical aspect. The body exists in a material world, visible and mortal, whereas the soul exists in an immaterial world, invisible and divine. ;)

Primus
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 12:47 AM
The Epicureans world on the other hand was bounded by the sea and the sky. They had absolutely no conception of the vastness and emptiness of the space that surrounds the earth.

I think that you're seriously underestimating the intellectual capability of the ancients. This is a common post-modern concient which I categorically and happily deny.

For example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posidonius#Astronomy

Sehnsucht
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 12:58 AM
immaterial world

Non-existent world? ;)

Dropkick
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 01:55 AM
Dying is like going to sleep permanently. There's nothing after it. Your mind and thoughts are wholly dependant of your physical brain. I mean, I appreciate that some people are uncomfortable with that, but that's how it is.

People who have had near death experiences said that it was like waking up and more real than this world we live in. I think its beyond the human brain to comprehend something like that so some people think its impossible.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:13 AM
I think that you're seriously underestimating the intellectual capability of the ancients.

And I think you give them for too much credit. For every belief the ancients held that was correct they usually held another that was wildly inaccurate. Aristotle ,for instance, thought that flies had 4 not 6 legs and Socrates conjectured that there must be lighter than air people living in the clouds and denser than water people living under the sea.

Another thing about the ancients is that they always seemed to be looking for evidence of "perfection" in nature. The Greek architects had their golden ratio, Plato had his Platonic ideals, The Pythagorean had the music of the spheres.

However, they weren't above ignoring any information that didn't quite jive in with the neat constructs they wanted to build.The Pythagorean for example were very upset to discover that the square route of 2 is an irrational number; 1.41421356237309504880168872420969807856 967187537694807317667973799... etc. It continues indefinitely and so can never be fully expressed. To the Pythagoreans this meant that something about the universe was disordered, messy and didn't make sense i.e "irrational". It might even mean that the gods were malevolent or insane. So what did they do? They attempted to suppress the knowledge of the square route of 2! It's existence simply did not sit right with their idea that the universe was a perfect place so they pretended it didn't exist.

Likewise, the Stoics were trying to find perfection in the universe and were looking for reasons why a perfect god must exist and therefore were ignoring evidence to the contrary. Like the bible says "seek and ye shall find".

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:42 AM
And I think you give them for too much credit. For every belief the ancients held that was correct they usually held another that was wildly inaccurate.

That's probably the case for moderns too, we just don't know what we got wrong yet.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:45 AM
People who have had near death experiences said that it was like waking up and more real than this world we live in.

Hallucinations brought on by drugs or physical exhaustion can also seem more real that normal reality, yet in the objective sense they are anything but reflective of reality.

Fehde
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:48 AM
I think we (or our brains) decide what comes after death, maybe conscious, maybe unconscious. It's a normal chemical reaction.

I was braindead for about 60 seconds, my dad was braindead somewhat longer.
For me there was just nothing. I even can't really say that it was black. It just felt empty like you are lost in something infinite and all alone. It's hard to describe. But there was no light, no tunnel.
Ok, 60 seconds are short - I don't know if there would have been anything if I was dead longer. But I don't really want to try that again..
My Dad however said, he was at a theatre and they performed some piece with large rococo-style robes on. Well, I was a bit jealous when I heard that :)

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:57 AM
For me there was just nothing. I even can't really say that it was black. It just felt empty like you are lost in something infinite and all alone. It's hard to describe. But there was no light, no tunnel.

That reminds me of the time I had a general aesthetic. As soon as the effects of the anaesthetic seemed to reach the back of my neck I was engulfed in nothingness for a moment, then in the next moment I found myself waking up on the trolley after the operation.


My Dad however said, he was at a theatre and they performed some piece with large rococo-style robes on. Well, I was a bit jealous when I heard that :)

How was that different from an hallucination?

Sehnsucht
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 03:10 AM
Nobody survives true brain death. The brain activity often becomes so low it is hard to detect on an EEG, creating the appearance of brain death. EEG is not used by itself to prove brain death/clinical death for this reason.

Fehde
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 03:40 AM
How was that different from an hallucination?

I don't know. Maybe there is no difference.
Maybe it's also not different from dreaming.
Aren't all these things based on chemical reactions in the brain?


Nobody survives true brain death. The brain activity often becomes so low it is hard to detect on an EEG, creating the appearance of brain death. EEG is not used by itself to prove brain death/clinical death for this reason.

Thanks for the info. I'm not an expert in medical things.
Then it was a clinical death (?) both times I think, hm... must be.
I woke up - don't know - short time after that, my Dad was in an artificial coma for about three days, they wanted to wake him up very slowly, for some kind of reason it was too dangerous to wake him up directly.

When I think about at this point, maybe his experiences could also have been a coma effect. But he told me, first he was at this theatre and later he was like asleep but he could hear all the voices of the nurses.


I am sorry. I think my english level is not good enough to diskuss that like I'd like to do -.-

Dropkick
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 12:39 PM
How about people blind from birth who said they could see in a near death experience? Before that they didn't understand what seeing was. That can't be described as hallucinating.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 01:12 PM
How about people blind from birth who said they could see in a near death experience? Before that they didn't understand what seeing was. That can't be described as hallucinating.

The workings of the brain are not fully understood yet.

People can be blind for a number of reasons. There are people who can't see yet have nothing discernible wrong with either their eyes or the visual system of their brain. It's possible that in these cases the brain has been receiving images all their lives but for some reason doesn't allow the images to reach the consciousness. Some of these people claim not to able to see anything at all yet are able to avoid objects placed in their path. In this scenario an hallucination might allow visual imagery to reach consciousness for the first time.

I'm not saying that this is the actual explanation for the visual NDE of the blind but it is at least plausible given what is currently known about the brain. It is more plausible imo than the idea that there is an afterlife, a proposal for which we have no testable evidence.

Olavssønn
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 02:43 PM
Hallucinations brought on by drugs or physical exhaustion can also seem more real that normal reality, yet in the objective sense they are anything but reflective of reality.

These are mere speculations. There are too many elements in all the documented case stories, that when put together make the speculative sceptic-theories unsufficient in coming up with any credible explanation. MANY people who have been clinically dead in hospitals etc, have reported floating out of the body to observe what happened in the room at that point, before the body was rescuscitated. These observations have proven to be correct, and there is no way that the clinically dead patient could have been able to know these details otherwise. All the case stories show a remarkable degree of similarity, regardless of the patient's age (spanning from very young children to old people) religious beliefs (or lack thereof), cultural context and ethnicity. The experiences are too clear, lucid and structured to be the random products of a troubled, drug-affected, clinically dead brain. The absolute majority of the people who have experienced a NDE are personally convinced that it was real, and not a hallucination or dream, and often ceases to fear death.

After having read that book I told you about, it is just too plain to see that none of the sceptic-theories have been able to come up with a sufficiently good explanation. As things are today, we have all reason to believe in the reality of this phenomenon - in fact, it is the best answer that we currently have to the question of whether a part of our consciousness may leave the biological body and exist independently of it.

It seems that the traditional knowledge of most cultures was right all the time (whether they called it the spirit world, Heaven, or whatever) - if not right in all varied details and interpretations, so at least with regards to the existence of some kind of "soul" or "spirit" and otherworldly realms - while Modernity's material "rationalism" had it wrong.

It is only a question of time before this will be accepted by Science generally. The future for our civilization is truly that of archeofuturism. :thumbup

Primus
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 03:25 PM
Likewise, the Stoics were trying to find perfection in the universe and were looking for reasons why a perfect god must exist and therefore were ignoring evidence to the contrary. Like the bible says "seek and ye shall find".

I'm not sure what "evidence to the contrary" you're thinking of in citing the Stoics. Stoic perfectionism was an ideation of Zeno and the earliest Stoics, later to become a bit of an embarrassment to the school.

If by perfection you mean "the universe does what it's designed by God to do" then, yes, I suppose the Stoics sought perfection in the universe, but this fails to take into account that their idea of perfect or good isn't what we post-moderns a couple of millenia later consider to be perfect and good. For moderns, the idea of a perfect world is some heavenly otherworld wherein God and the angels dwell; for the Stoic there was no such thing, except perhaps when the soul returned to Zeus at the time of physical death, but this was more a case of reabsorption into the source rather than regeneration into a new form.

Stoic corporeality posited that the structure of the physical universe was the "body" of God, with the "mind" of God suffusing it. Thus the universe was perfect by design, nature, and operation- humans, from limited perspective, tended to judge the universe as a hostile place.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 03:56 PM
These are mere speculations. There are too many elements in all the documented case stories, that when put together make the speculative sceptic-theories unsufficient in coming up with any credible explanation. MANY people who have been clinically dead in hospitals etc, have reported floating out of the body to observe what happened in the room at that point, before the body was rescuscitated. These observations have proven to be correct, and there is no way that the clinically dead patient could have been able to know these details otherwise.

Can you give me one example?

There was one such story I heard of a woman having a near death experience where she floated out of her hospital bed and out of the window and saw a sneaker sitting on a ledge between two windows. The story goes that when she came to, she asked a nurse to check if the sneaker was where she saw it. So the nurse leaned out of the window to look. Sure enough the single sneaker was sitting on the ledge. The problem is the woman didn't know the nurses name and this nurse has never been tracked down.



All the case stories show a remarkable degree of similarity, regardless of the patient's age (spanning from very young children to old people) religious beliefs (or lack thereof), cultural context and ethnicity. The experiences are too clear, lucid and structured to be the random products of a troubled, drug-affected, clinically dead brain. The absolute majority of the people who have experienced a NDE are personally convinced that it was real, and not a hallucination or dream, and often ceases to fear death.



It seems that the traditional knowledge of most cultures was right all the time (whether they called it the spirit world, Heaven, or whatever) - if not right in all varied details and interpretations, so at least with regards to the existence of some kind of "soul" or "spirit" and otherworldly realms - while Modernity's material "rationalism" had it wrong.

So when Hindus have near death experiences, do they see Jesus or do they see Ganesh the elephant god or Hanuman the monkey god? Likewise, what do hunter gatherers see when they have a near death experience, their own gods presumably? There is surely a good deal of diversity within near death experiences.


It is only a question of time before this will be accepted by Science generally. The future for our civilization is truly that of archeofuturism. :thumbup

I doubt it. There have been a good number of near death experiences reported but all of them, as far as I'm aware have a rational explanation.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 04:07 PM
I'm not sure what "evidence to the contrary" you're thinking of in citing the Stoics.

Simply the fact that the world is obviously far from perfect and that it takes quite a tortuous and convoluted argument to try to imply otherwise.


If by perfection you mean "the universe does what it's designed by God to do" then, yes, I suppose the Stoics sought perfection in the universe, but this fails to take into account that their idea of perfect or good isn't what we post-moderns a couple of millenia later consider to be perfect and good. For moderns, the idea of a perfect world is some heavenly otherworld
wherein God and the angels dwell; for the Stoic there was no such thing, except perhaps when the soul returned to Zeus at the time of physical death, but this was more a case of reabsorption into the source rather than regeneration into a new form.


Stoic corporeality posited that the structure of the physical universe was the "body" of God, with the "mind" of God suffusing it. Thus the universe was perfect by design, nature, and operation- humans, from limited perspective, tended to judge the universe as a hostile place.

None of this detracts from the fact that the notion that "the world must be perfect because the highest being who created it would necessarily be perfect or else he would be the highest being" is a circular argument and a thoroughgoing sophism.

Ulfhedinn
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 04:32 PM
I've had this slightly philosophical thread in mind for a while, and now I finally bothered to make it.

Our usual assumption is that when you die, it's all over, and nothing remains. However, I find this just as devoid of reason as saying there is a heaven or any afterlife at all. "Realistic" people might try to tell me that when I die there will be "nothing", only an eternal blackness. But what is the base for that claim? Absolutely none.

Anyways, discuss and give your input.

I think the main problem with the thought that there is "nothing" after death ignors the fact that there is constant regeneration in nature. There are cycles in nature and we are part of nature. Read the Voluspa; even the gods die and are replaced by their offspring...just as we die and are replaced by our offspring.

Another point, the eternity of the Old Testament Jews is a very specific length of time -- 6,000 lunar years; it is not the forever of the Christian viewpoint.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 06:41 PM
I think the main problem with the thought that there is "nothing" after death ignors the fact that there is constant regeneration in nature. There are cycles in nature and we are part of nature. Read the Voluspa; even the gods die and are replaced by their offspring...just as we die and are replaced by our offspring.


For the cycles of nature to lead to reincarnation of individual human beings, the universe would need to be infinite and nature eternal. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough time to explore all of the permutations that would need to be explored in order for so complex an arrangement of atoms as you or I to come about again by pure chance.

Whether or not the universe is infinite is something that is yet to be established.




Another point, the eternity of the Old Testament Jews is a very specific length of time -- 6,000 lunar years; it is not the forever of the Christian viewpoint.

That simply isn't eternity it's just the longest period of time that a primitive tribe of desert nomads could imagine.

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 06:45 PM
For the cycles of nature to lead to reincarnation of individual human beings, the universe would need to be infinite and nature eternal. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough time to explore all of the permutations that would need to be explored in order for so complex an arrangement of atoms as you or I to come about again by pure chance.


Your "you-ness" is a specific arrangement of atoms? But your atoms are changing all the time...

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 06:54 PM
Your "you-ness" is a specific arrangement of atoms? But your atoms are changing all the time...

Well it would depend on how memories are encoded. I would consider my individuality to be a product of my physical make up and my memories. As far as I know memories are encoded in the brain by some physical process coupled with a pattern of neuronal firing.

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 06:55 PM
Well it would depend on how memories are encoded. I would consider my individuality to be a product of my physical make up and my memories. As far as I know memories are encoded in the brain by some physical process coupled with a pattern of neuronal firing.

Were you "you" before you acquired your current memories then? As a child were you you?

Edit: Also would you accept that memory is quite a fluid thing and lots is lost and gained constantly?

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 07:09 PM
Were you "you" before you acquired your current memories then? As a child were you you?

That is a difficult enough question to answer. I was certainly different then than I am now.

However, I was still myself at that time at least because the self that I currently am (that you are inviting me to compare my earlier self against) did not exist at that earlier time. Therefore there is no dichotomy between past self and present self. There is only the same self changing through time.


Edit: Also would you accept that memory is quite a fluid thing and lots is lost and gained constantly?

I would accept that yes. In the case of Alzheimer's for instance I think that after enough memories would have been lost the being that I now recognise as myself would at that point cease to exist.

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 07:18 PM
Well I guess what I am getting at is that, if I am me on the basis of my memories, I am a different person from day to day, moment to moment since I am constantly acquiring new memories and constantly forgetting old memories (although the most emotive memories tend to linger).

I still say that I am me not because I remember being who I was before, but because of the continuity of body and mind (and even if I got something like Alzheimer's there would be a continuity there, but one that would be confused and disrupted by disorder).

But continuity can be extended to things outside myself, parents, children, descendants, ancestors (even mental continuity, my thoughts are mine because they grow out of my older thoughts, but don't my thoughts also grow out of the thoughts my parents and culture spoke to me?).

So can memory actually, the memory of an event can be written down and re-imagined by other people - and in truth this is not different to experiencing it directly because we don't remember "what happened" but tend to remember specific salient details and narratives constructed from within - all of which can be faithfully shared with others.

The barrier between self and other is not what it seems I think.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 09:08 PM
Well I guess what I am getting at is that, if I am me on the basis of my memories, I am a different person from day to day, moment to moment since I am constantly acquiring new memories and constantly forgetting old memories (although the most emotive memories tend to linger).

People change, but only imperceptibly on a day to day basis. I think after a certain formative period in adolescence has passed the rate of change slows markedly until by middle age people are hardly changing at all in terms of their outlook.


I still say that I am me not because I remember being who I was before, but because of the continuity of body and mind (and even if I got something like Alzheimer's there would be a continuity there, but one that would be confused and disrupted by disorder).

So if you lost all your memories you would still be "you" in your opinion? Do you think the people around you would recognise you as being the same person, given that you wouldn't recognise any of them or remember the times you shared together?


But continuity can be extended to things outside myself, parents, children, descendants, ancestors (even mental continuity, my thoughts are mine because they grow out of my older thoughts, but don't my thoughts also grow out of the thoughts my parents and culture spoke to me?).

You are saying that you are partly the sum or the ideas you hold to be correct? To some extent this may be the case, but it seems to be like saying that all paintings are the same because they all employ the same colour spectrum.Yet every painting is individual.



The barrier between self and other is not what it seems I think.

I'm not exactly sure what you are saying here, but while on psychedelic drugs I've had the sensation that the division between myself and others was entirely illusory and that we are all just effectively the same mind experiencing different lives. Once I even surmised that the division between myself and the carpet was a meaningless construct. However, when I sobered up I concluded that these impressions were the result of a collapse of my minds innate model of the world and not to be taken at face value as examples of higher consciousness, but simply different consciousness.

The division between individuals is I'm afraid a brute fact of reality and to believe that it isn't so is to approach the edge of mental disorder.

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 09:11 PM
I think that it's clear that discrete objects exist, including individual human beings. I think it's also self-evident looked at closely that the boundaries between all things are very fuzzy.

Since the boundaries are fuzzy I have to wonder, is the boundary between me at age 4 and me now a larger or smaller boundary than between me now and my mother. I do not think it is at all clear that it is smaller.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 09:48 PM
Since the boundaries are fuzzy I have to wonder, is the boundary between me at age 4 and me now a larger or smaller boundary than between me now and my mother. I do not think it is at all clear that it is smaller.

It's certainly an interesting question. I think the fact that your mother was never you at the age of 4 whereas you were, means that you are closer to your 4 year old self than you mother is.

However, how the difference between you and your mother would be quantified I'm not sure. I suppose it could be measured in various ways.

If you are 26 and your mother is in her 50's it might be said that you are separated by perhaps 80 years of separate experiences (your ages added together) minus whatever experiences you had which were identical.

Whereas you are separated from your 4 year old self by 22 years of added experience, much of which were new experiences.

I think whether you consider yourself to be more similar to your mother or to your 4 year-old self hinges on how much weight you give to the fine detail of experiences. Because no two experiences can ever be identical, it could be argued that you share no experiences in common with your mother at all. It could be said on the other hand, that one roast beef sandwich is much the same as another and that therefore you share many experiences in common with your mother, and with most other people for that matter.

ablutive
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 10:05 PM
You recognise though that in this sense, given the division between every single me in time and every other close thing to me, the notions of death and immortality become much more difficult than if we take for granted the illusion of a continuous consciousness (I think it's fair to say it's illusion and I think modern science backs me up on that one) that could be termed the self?

I think it's fun that the world seems to actually be weirder than the religions (with the possible exception of Buddhism which touches on some of this stuff - even though I dislike the specific moralism of it) managed to imagine though.

The Horned God
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 10:31 PM
You recognise though that in this sense, given the division between every single me in time and every other close thing to me, the notions of death and immortality become much more difficult than if we take for granted the illusion of a continuous consciousness (I think it's fair to say it's illusion and I think modern science backs me up on that one) that could be termed the self?

The continuity of the self might or might not be an illusion. However, I don't think there is any getting away from the fact that the proper functioning of the brain is necessary to produce the self and that once we finally lose consciousness at death there is very little reason to think that we will never awaken again.


I think it's fun that the world seems to actually be weirder than the religions (with the possible exception of Buddhism which touches on some of this stuff - even though I dislike the specific moralism of it) managed to imagine though.




My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.


;)

Primus
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 02:21 AM
Simply the fact that the world is obviously far from perfect and that it takes quite a tortuous and convoluted argument to try to imply otherwise.

None of this detracts from the fact that the notion that "the world must be perfect because the highest being who created it would necessarily be perfect or else he would be the highest being" is a circular argument and a thoroughgoing sophism.

For the Stoics the universe and the highest being are one and the same. They were stict corporealists who had no concept of a creator-deity in the Abrahamic sense.

Stoics were eclectic borrowers and Heraclitus was one of their favorite sources of inspiration. It was he who said:

To God all things are beautiful and good and just, but people have supposed some to be unjust, others just.

Humans have, according to Stoicism, reasoning that is prone to error and defect because of its combination of the higher and the lower natures: animal and divine.

The Horned God
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 11:22 AM
To God all things are beautiful and good and just, but people have supposed some to be unjust, others just.

Humans have, according to Stoicism, reasoning that is prone to error and defect because of its combination of the higher and the lower natures: animal and divine.

Ok, I think I see where the stoics were coming from. Frankly though, I don't see much justice in the world. I refuse to believe that there is some higher justice in a child getting cancer or a tidal wave sweeping away thousands. Just because the world is a certain way, that doesn't mean we have to respect it.

Primus
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 02:17 PM
Ok, I think I see where the stoics were coming from. Frankly though, I don't see much justice in the world. I refuse to believe that there is some higher justice in a child getting cancer or a tidal wave sweeping away thousands. Just because the world is a certain way, that doesn't mean we have to respect it.

The operation of the world is what it is, which has nothing to do with oneself. It might sound callouse to say but the child getting cancer isn't something that a Stoic ought to dwell too much on, no more than the tidal wave sweeping away a multitude, one's spouse dying, or oneself dying.

"[T]he central theme of Stoic moral supremacy over the affairs of the world: ““I must die. But must I die groaning? I must be imprisoned. But must I whine as well? I must suffer exile. Can any one then hinder me from going with a smile, and a good courage, and at peace?””

http://fair-use.org/rampart-journal/1965/03/the-stoic-virtues#e1p31

Borrowing a bit from a larger article, which more or less encapsulates that one has no control over nature but one does have control over oneself. Of course one should properly grieve at the death of a loved one, but this in mind: death is inevitable and will come in some form or another. How and why isn't really relevant; what is relevant is one's own peace of mind. In an operative sense the universe is good, doing what it was designed to do; humans can no more stop, say, tidal waves or disease than they can stop the sun from rising and setting.

The Horned God
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 04:36 PM
Borrowing a bit from a larger article, which more or less encapsulates that one has no control over nature but one does have control over oneself. Of course one should properly grieve at the death of a loved one, but this in mind: death is inevitable and will come in some form or another. How and why isn't really relevant; what is relevant is one's own peace of mind. In an operative sense the universe is good, doing what it was designed to do; humans can no more stop, say, tidal waves or disease than they can stop the sun from rising and setting.


It seems like it could be quite a fatalistic philosophy. We usually don't know which situations we can improve until we try. I think the right application of stoicism would require the knowledge of which things can be changed and which can't and so must be accepted.

ohrdruf
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 06:56 PM
Well, here we are in Hell, deservingly, for the span of our lives, and whatever we do to try to make it more comfortable for ourselves here is simply moving the furniture about in our prison cell.

Our prime duty in life is to relentlessly seek the route to escape the endless round of life and death following our passing.

Our primary duty in life is to pray daily that at death we as individuals be given the facility to enable us to assist the countless beings in this Hell called Earth to find the way out as we have just done.

This is what is really meant by love for our brother. It is the love by which we would turn down the chance of Heaven, if it existed, until such time as every suffering human on the planet had entered the golden gates before us.

It is a prospect few who read these lines will relish but there you have it.

Once you have faith, Those Who Must Be Obeyed will start giving you the evidence you need to proceed.

The Horned God
Monday, August 20th, 2012, 08:41 PM
]
Well, here we are in Hell, deservingly, for the span of our lives, and whatever we do to try to make it more comfortable for ourselves here is simply moving the furniture about in our prison cell.

You'll get no arguments from me there.


Our prime duty in life is to relentlessly seek the route to escape the endless round of life and death following our passing.

So you are a believer in reincarnation?


Our primary duty in life is to pray daily that at death we as individuals be given the facility to enable us to assist the countless beings in this Hell called Earth to find the way out as we have just done.

Who are you praying to, if I might ask and do they ever talk back to you? ;)


This is what is really meant by love for our brother. It is the love by which we would turn down the chance of Heaven, if it existed, until such time as every suffering human on the planet had entered the golden gates before us.

I really don't think it's possible to love the average human being that much. We're a worthless selfish lot, most of us, I'm afraid. In fact I think selfishness is the closest thing to a virtue that the human species comes preloaded with, because it leads to invention and comerce.




Once you have faith, Those Who Must Be Obeyed will start giving you the evidence you need to proceed.

Who might these people or beings be?

Sawyer
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, 12:29 AM
Non-existent world? ;)

Well sure if you want to believe that, that's fine. I don't because I agree with Socrates logic; and as someone who's had close family members taken away by untimely deaths, too many strange things occur when I visit the last place where my childhood hero lived for me to ignore it. :)

Primus
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, 02:28 AM
It seems like it could be quite a fatalistic philosophy. We usually don't know which situations we can improve until we try. I think the right application of stoicism would require the knowledge of which things can be changed and which can't and so must be accepted.

That's a rather common conception of Stoicism:

"Z happened because it was fated to happen; it was God's will."

It's rather more like:

"Z happened because Y happened, and X before Y."

God doesn't fiat things to happen; God allows them to happen on their own according to predetermined laws (natural laws, cause sand effects, and so on). Stoic determinism is quite a complex affair that's more than simple fatalism.

The things that can be changed are the things in one's power, which are more or less one's own mental impressions and mental states of mind. One of the yardsticks of Stoicism was the wise man being able to be put to the torture and yet still be perfectly happy and serene. Such a thing might be far-fetched to us, but there's been some research done that suggests that such a thing is possible- literally a case of mind over matter.

Certainly one should grieve for the death of a loved one but the idea is to not be overcome by emotion (or powerful emotion), which is irrational.

Klaus
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, 07:58 PM
If one asks himself what should be after the death, one puts at the same time the question after to soul,spirit) .

I place "soul(spirit) " immediately with "personality ".
Personality = "soul(spirit) \" is the product of electric-chemical processes of the living brain.
It is to be observed which changes the personality with brain-organic illnesses(diseases) / injuries(violations) often strongly because the brain works now differently(else) and produces an other-changed personality.
The personality / "soul(spirit) " is the PRODUCT of the brain activity.
She is not an imateriel parasite who inhabits the brain and after the brain death imateriell "lives on ".

With the brain death does not "die" the personality, it(she) is not simply produced any more.
Nothing is after the brain death, how should also be "something"?

Everything what themselves people dream around himself "immortally" illusion is to be felt.
Everybody "religion ", everybody "gods / God " - imagination is an illusion, and everybody "religion " is a lie.
"Religion " gives none "to answers " separate illusions.

But "religion " is no destiny(fate).
"Religion " is remediable!

We people do not need the illusion from "life after the death ".
What we need is a humane life before the death, and not the lie from "postdeath lives "

And to live around humane we need no illusions, nobody needs "god" - trust =
What we need ist to trust ourself !

Don´t forget :

"Religion " is remediable!