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  1. #21
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    So, I'm thinking since my last post. If all of the Universe is a whole, then perhaps Science and Spirituality are much more closely related than some believe they are.

    If Science cannot yet conclusively state whether a person is alive or dead and we don't know that improved technology will ever find the answer, other than by faith that it will, maybe it would be best for each to become his own Theologian. And Scientist, as well. Seems Scientists are already depending on faith with the hope that it will. Perhaps it is just as possible that it will not.

    I don't see the two as diametrically opposed at all. It makes sense to me that a Universe which chaotically seems to seek equilibrium would also have room for this, at first glance, dichotomy.

    Perhaps the insistence of always needing a final answer to every question could be a red herring, drawing us away from the Truth.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #22
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Perhaps the insistence of always needing a final answer to every question could be a red herring, drawing us away from the Truth.
    I think this is the big mistake. It's really ok to say that we don't know, and that is true for 'science' and 'faith', equally. Sometimes science makes this mistake, but I think faith makes it a whole lot more... it almost seems foundational to faith.

    Everything depends on definitions, however. We can come up with a definition of death - if we put the bar low, we will have 'after death' experiences, and if we put it too high, we will probably bury people alive. But none of that matters, objectively. What we want to know is if there is a soul, a spirit, or some part of us that lives on beyond the physical body.

    Honest discovery of that is what should matter - not the definition.

    As of this moment, 'science' has more unknowns than any one person can even be aware of. The whole point of science is to find out what is happening... in fact, it's the only thing that science really works on. And it's always trying to find more unknowns to work on. But it's the explanation that matters, in the end.

    The near-death thing is not possible to explain, but to me, the faith answer is still assuming an answer. It doesn't matter if science isn't able to pinpoint the moment of physical death in order to validate if something exists after physical death... if it doesn't, the answer is unknown. The burden of proof doesn't shift because we lack the ability to meet it. That's what makes the definition part so important... we need to know what we want to know before we go looking for it. We need things to be defined so that we can discover the answer.

    -

    I know we differ in how we think - not opposite, which would make it easier to understand each other - but at right angles. My version of faith can be summed up in reliability. I have faith in knowledge that I define as reliable.

    But this is heavily subjective, and I admit it. I have faith that my wife will be home when I get home... but that faith can be very misplaced if I was working 16 hour days and ignored the signs that she might not be. From one person's perspective, my faith is misplaced, even if it is rational that she has been there for thousands of days. Not everything comes down to hard numbers - it's humans doing the calculating. Faith is just a part of it. [i]However/i], my way of doing things is to use my skeptical attitude towards everything that I can use it against. Then I start going with my gut. And more often than not, I have to make decisions on some degree of faith of the outcome, of what is.

    But this comes back to the question I asked earlier - how confident are you that there is life after death? It's like asking someone religious how confident they are in God, or something similar. But it's the same system when I'm asked if my wife will be home tonight.

    Except I probably have a bit more to go on

    (I'm really not sure I answered anything in your post... I think we are thinking in two different directions and finding common ground... difficult. But I tried to cover everything that came to mind when I read your post!)

  3. #23
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    I am curious Anja.


    How do you define spirit/soul?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    I am curious Anja.


    How do you define spirit/soul?

    My answer, although we think very differently, would have the same end result as if I had asked you to define Universe or Infinity to me. Nobody knows what that is. We can't measure it.

    It is that effort to pin down and label the unknowable which, from my perspective hinders our understanding.

    But some desire conclusive evidence in order to feel that they are making the correct decision. A need for safety?

    The best a Scientific mind can answer is, "We don't know - but, dang it, we're going to find out." Maybe; Maybe not.

    Seems many scientific "truths" have been reversed in my lifetime. Knowledge and technology grow and, with that growth, changes come.

    There is an arrogance/hubris to this in that the end result for some minds, which refuse to accept that they can't know everything, is to deny it's existence. To me that is unscientific.

    __________________________________________________ _________

    I see your response, pt, and thank you. I haven't read it yet as it's late in the afternoon here. I'll come back when I have time and respond.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  5. #25
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Here is why I ask

    The thing is that if spirit/soul exist in a way that many people think it is,then there is one problem with that idea.

    If that idea is true then psychiatric medications should not work.

  6. #26
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    Things like this thread are why atheism isn't really any more rational than spiritual belief. Scenarios are being offered under the de facto assumption that some kind of afterlife is impossible. "Well, this may be unlikely, or I can't think of anything right now, but I know it's not THAT." It's no different than the way religions bend over backwards to explain things in a way that incorporates their dogma.
    Thesis: Some kind of an afterlife is possible.


    Afterlife: Existence after the death of our body. Existence must be similar to the existence we experience on earth either with regard to our physical or psychological activities.

    Reasons to believe that our thesis is true: What people report to have experienced at the time when physicians thought that they were dead is reminiscent of life after death.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Problem: There is life after death only if the physicians were corrected in declaring that the people who have reported the aforementioned experiences were dead and if the aforementioned reported experiences are true.

    1)Do we know if the people in question were truly dead?

    We do not know such a thing, as the articles Jack Flak has cited suggest that knowledge of the patient's inactive heart does not guarantee knowledge of the patient's inactivity of the brain.

    2)Do we know if the aforementioned experiences were true? The visions depicted in such experiences were highly structured, or they included events that follow a clear pattern, exactly like events follow a pattern in a story depicting real-life occurences. We know that in order to think in a structured fashion we must be conscious, as structured thinking by its own definition requires that we organize our thoughts. We know that when we are unconscious we experience visions which are not structured. However, when we proceed to explain our visions (in this case the visions we have experienced in our dreams) to others, we bring structure to our visions. Very often we alter the content of our visions without knowing we have done so.

    The psychological principles I wish to establish is as follows, our visions that we have not carefully organized cannot be clearly remembered as in themselves they lack structure. To examplify this matter, consider how we struggle to remember a random group of letters, but if we were told that these letters are an acronym that represent an idea that we are clearly aware of (or that we are told that the letters have a pattern), it would be easier for us to remember such a group of letters.

    As aforementioned, what we see when we are unconscious cannot be structured and therefore is almost always altered. It is altered in two regards, much like our dreams tend to be altered. We misrepresent the content of what we have envisaged, and because we do not have a clear idea of what exactly we have envisaged, we tend to introduce additional material to our visions (material that has not occured in what we have seen) or neglect to recollect some of the material we have seen.

    Thus, this shows that it is unlikely that the visions the people in question have experienced are true.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional notes on the visions of the people who claimed to have returned from the dead: It is very natural for us to believe in what strikes us as most pleasant. Wishful thinking, for this reason is very common among most people. Consider how, 5 months from now we may think that the opinions we have expressed to other people in our letters are profound and interesting. Yet, upon re-reading such letters, we would observe that this was not the case. Or for example, how an athlete may think he has performed well in a competitive event, yet upon reviewing the game on television, it would become obvious that this was not the case.

    Moreover, consider how many elaborate interpretation we concoct for our dreams and how well structured our stories (that purport to depict what we have experienced in our dreams) tend to be. Yet it is clear to us that such structure could be possible only through conscious thinking.

    One now is tempted to ask the following question; suppose John was declared dead at 7pm. At 7:05 PM the nurse said that it is raining outside. At 7:10 PM the doctor took off his mask and placed it on the highest shelf in the room.

    John has regained consciousness at 7:20 PM and states what the doctor and the nurse intepret as the following "The nurse said it was raining outside and the doctor put his mask on the highest shelf in the room."

    Lets assume that John was not truly dead. His brain remained active to a certain degree. It is not clear to what degree the brain could be active when his heart ceases to work. It is conceivable however, that his brain would be active enough to allow him to hear what has been said, as very often we can recollect what has been said when we are only partially unconscious.

    Hence, John may have been able to report accurate information with regard to what has been said. Yet, it certainly seems doubtful that he would be able to report exactly what others have said or what others have done when he was unconscious, as having such clear recollections requires structured thinking. Such structured thinking is possible only through conscious activity.

    At this point I wish to draw the reader's attention to the phenomenon of wishful thinking. John may have had (and likely had if at all) only partial perceptions of what has happened when he was unconscious and with limited success provided structure for his perceptions. As a result of this what he had stated to the nurse and the doctor was only vaguely reminiscent of occurences that took place when he was unconscious.

    Moreoever, its possible that John was completely dead and had no perceptions at the time when he was unconscious. The perceptions he had were collected before he had died and were stored in his memory. He has retrieved such perceptions after he has regained consciousness.

    The doctor and the nurse, eager to believe in life after death envisage that what he said obviously matches what has occured when he was unconscious. It is also the case that John himself was eager to believe that there is life after death and his experiences confirm such a proposition. Therefore, wishful thinking on his part could easily convince him that what he has experienced when he was unconscious supports the proposition that life after death is possible. It is very easy for John to think in a wishful fashion under these circumstances because his unconscious experiences are unstructured and therefore can be easily diluted, it is also his nature to think wishfully. Therefore it follows that because John thinks wishfully and it is easy for him distort the content of his visions, he will most likely alter the visions he has experienced to better fit the conclusions with regard to such visions that he wishes to accept.

    Hence, the experiences that John has shared most likely had more in common with our recollections of dreams and all other of our unconscious psychological experiences. By virtue of John's attempt to bring structure to his visions and wishful thinking on his part, as well as those who have attempted to interpret his visions, a very elaborate and propitious to ourselves explanation of his experiences has been concocted. Such an explanation, almost certainly, does not correspond to what John truly has experienced when he was unconscious.

    It is unlikely that if this case was subjected to careful inquiry, that what John had stated corresponds closely to what has occured when he was unconscious.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Summary:We do not have a reason to believe in the possibility of an afterlife because we do not know if any person who has communicated with us was truly dead and we do not have a reason to believe that their testimony is accurate, even if it was the case that such a person was truly dead.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  7. #27
    Senior Member THEANO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Thesis: Some kind of an afterlife is possible.


    Afterlife: Existence after the death of our body. Existence must be similar to the existence we experience on earth either with regard to our physical or psychological activities.

    Reasons to believe that our thesis is true: What people report to have experienced at the time when physicians thought that they were dead is reminiscent of life after death.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Problem: There is life after death only if the physicians were corrected in declaring that the people who have reported the aforementioned experiences were dead and if the aforementioned reported experiences are true.

    1)Do we know if the people in question were truly dead?

    We do not know such a thing, as the articles Jack Flak has cited suggest that knowledge of the patient's inactive heart does not guarantee knowledge of the patient's inactivity of the brain.

    2)Do we know if the aforementioned experiences were true? The visions depicted in such experiences were highly structured, or they included events that follow a clear pattern, exactly like events follow a pattern in a story depicting real-life occurences. We know that in order to think in a structured fashion we must be conscious, as structured thinking by its own definition requires that we organize our thoughts. We know that when we are unconscious we experience visions which are not structured. However, when we proceed to explain our visions (in this case the visions we have experienced in our dreams) to others, we bring structure to our visions. Very often we alter the content of our visions without knowing we have done so.

    The psychological principles I wish to establish is as follows, our visions that we have not carefully organized cannot be clearly remembered as in themselves they lack structure. To examplify this matter, consider how we struggle to remember a random group of letters, but if we were told that these letters are an acronym that represent an idea that we are clearly aware of (or that we are told that the letters have a pattern), it would be easier for us to remember such a group of letters.

    As aforementioned, what we see when we are unconscious cannot be structured and therefore is almost always altered. It is altered in two regards, much like our dreams tend to be altered. We misrepresent the content of what we have envisaged, and because we do not have a clear idea of what exactly we have envisaged, we tend to introduce additional material to our visions (material that has not occured in what we have seen) or neglect to recollect some of the material we have seen.

    Thus, this shows that it is unlikely that the visions the people in question have experienced are true.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional notes on the visions of the people who claimed to have returned from the dead: It is very natural for us to believe in what strikes us as most pleasant. Wishful thinking, for this reason is very common among most people. Consider how, 5 months from now we may think that the opinions we have expressed to other people in our letters are profound and interesting. Yet, upon re-reading such letters, we would observe that this was not the case. Or for example, how an athlete may think he has performed well in a competitive event, yet upon reviewing the game on television, it would become obvious that this was not the case.

    Moreover, consider how many elaborate interpretation we concoct for our dreams and how well structured our stories (that purport to depict what we have experienced in our dreams) tend to be. Yet it is clear to us that such structure could be possible only through conscious thinking.

    One now is tempted to ask the following question; suppose John was declared dead at 7pm. At 7:05 PM the nurse said that it is raining outside. At 7:10 PM the doctor took off his mask and placed it on the highest shelf in the room.

    John has regained consciousness at 7:20 PM and states what the doctor and the nurse intepret as the following "The nurse said it was raining outside and the doctor put his mask on the highest shelf in the room."

    Lets assume that John was not truly dead. His brain remained active to a certain degree. It is not clear to what degree the brain could be active when his heart ceases to work. It is conceivable however, that his brain would be active enough to allow him to hear what has been said, as very often we can recollect what has been said when we are only partially unconscious.

    Hence, John may have been able to report accurate information with regard to what has been said. Yet, it certainly seems doubtful that he would be able to report exactly what others have said or what others have done when he was unconscious, as having such clear recollections requires structured thinking. Such structured thinking is possible only through conscious activity.

    At this point I wish to draw the reader's attention to the phenomenon of wishful thinking. John may have had (and likely had if at all) only partial perceptions of what has happened when he was unconscious and with limited success provided structure for his perceptions. As a result of this what he had stated to the nurse and the doctor was only vaguely reminiscent of occurences that took place when he was unconscious.

    Moreoever, its possible that John was completely dead and had no perceptions at the time when he was unconscious. The perceptions he had were collected before he had died and were stored in his memory. He has retrieved such perceptions after he has regained consciousness.

    The doctor and the nurse, eager to believe in life after death envisage that what he said obviously matches what has occured when he was unconscious. It is also the case that John himself was eager to believe that there is life after death and his experiences confirm such a proposition. Therefore, wishful thinking on his part could easily convince him that what he has experienced when he was unconscious supports the proposition that life after death is possible. It is very easy for John to think in a wishful fashion under these circumstances because his unconscious experiences are unstructured and therefore can be easily diluted, it is also his nature to think wishfully. Therefore it follows that because John thinks wishfully and it is easy for him distort the content of his visions, he will most likely alter the visions he has experienced to better fit the conclusions with regard to such visions that he wishes to accept.

    Hence, the experiences that John has shared most likely had more in common with our recollections of dreams and all other of our unconscious psychological experiences. By virtue of John's attempt to bring structure to his visions and wishful thinking on his part, as well as those who have attempted to interpret his visions, a very elaborate and propitious to ourselves explanation of his experiences has been concocted. Such an explanation, almost certainly, does not correspond to what John truly has experienced when he was unconscious.

    It is unlikely that if this case was subjected to careful inquiry, that what John had stated corresponds closely to what has occured when he was unconscious.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Summary:We do not have a reason to believe in the possibility of an afterlife because we do not know if any person who has communicated with us was truly dead and we do not have a reason to believe that their testimony is accurate, even if it was the case that such a person was truly dead.

    Hey!!! Paragraphs and white spaces. I've died and gone to heaven. I'll report on my experience when I return.
    All I know for sure is that I come from a long line of dead people

  8. #28
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    damn really...i'm sure i would enjoy this discussion but i just can't read all that.

    my beliefs aren't up for debate anyway though.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  9. #29
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Thanks for your effort on the thread's behalf, SW. I read it all but felt disconnected from it's import after the third sentence assuming that existence after death must bear a resemblance to corporeal life. That's where the glitch lies I think.

    pt, thank you. I think your observations about our comparative communicational styles are apt and really quite useful to me. I appreciate your taking the time to present your ideas in a more understandable form to me!

    Whoopy! A real conversation. What a gem!

    (Do I dare post the freakin' banana?)
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  10. #30
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Thanks for your effort on the thread's behalf, SW. I read it all but felt disconnected from it's import after the third sentence assuming that existence after death must bear a resemblance to corporeal life. That's where the glitch lies I think.?)
    It is possible to imagine an existence that does not resemble our past experiences? If we had such an experience, how could we regard what we have observed as life after death?

    In other words, life on earth is our paradigm for what we regard as the essence of 'life' itself.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

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